Jousting, swordplay, and more on tap at Saline Celtic Festival

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 07/10/2019 - 18:20
Jousting is one of the many historical re-enactments at this weekend's Saline Celtic Festival.

Step back in time at this weekend’s Saline Celtic Festival, when history will come alive at Mill Pond Park.


The Barony of Cynnabar, a chapter of The Society of Creative Anachronism, is always a crowd favorite, doing demonstrations of armored and rapier combat, coin making, food and cooking, sewing clothes, singing, and music, to name just a few.


“ In recent years we've added an axe throwing station the public can participate in—it’s been very popular and we’re happy to be able to do it again this year,” says Art Sinclair.


“Saline is such a great community, and the Festival staff and guests have always been so good to us. We’ve been doing a demo at the Festival since the very first year – it’s always fun to come and do what we do for people who are also interested in history and culture. We really look forward to seeing folks there and sharing what we know.”


Why do members of the Barony of Cynnabar enjoy doing historical re-enactments? “I think for us it’s because we’ve an interest in learning more about history and culture, specifically the history and culture of the Middle Ages, and doing so not just by reading books, but by trying to recreate – to the best of our abilities – what we’ve read about and then sharing that knowledge with others,” Sinclair says. “We hope everyone has a chance to stop by and see how fun it can be to not just read about history – but actually experience some of it!”


This year will mark the first appearance of the “Celtic Alliance” re-enactors and accompanying “Brethren of the Blades” fighters in their ‘12th century’ camp; the Ann Arbor Sword Club will give demos and lessons; and Ring of Steel Theatre and Stunt Troupe will give fight demonstrations, as well as perform their stunning fire show on Friday and Saturday evening.


Festivalgoers will also thrill to the clash of lances and pounding hooves in the jousting tournaments. Today’s modern Mounted Martial Equestrian Games include elements from thousands of years of military and war horse training, including Dressage, Jumping, Jousting, Archery, Firearms, Swordsmanship and Cavalry. “Operation Horses and Heroes” is a non-profit organization focusing on Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) partnered with military personnel.


In addition to this historical time traveling, festivalgoers will also enjoy music from The Kreellers, Brother Crowe, Crossbow, The Codgers, Thunderwüde, Black Murray, House of Hamill, Paddy’s Cure, The Barley Saints, Nessa, Saline Fiddlers, and Chelsea House Orchestra; as well as pipe bands, ancient athletics, dance troupes, Highland dance competition, music and dance workshops, clans, sheep herding, Celtic Canines, Wee Folks Island, textiles and weavers, Millie the Mill Pond Monster, and much more.


The festival kicks off on Friday; gates open at 5 p.m., and the cost is $5 at the gate.  The evening features the Kreellers, Crossbow and The Codgers, as well as workshops, a limerick competition, ceili and contra dances, Mr. Pretty Legs in a Kilt competition, and a Ring of Steel Fire Show to round out the night.


The all-day festival follows on Saturday, when tickets are $15 at the gate (pre-sale $10 tickets have ended); $10 for ages 65 and up; $5 ages 12-17; active military and under 12, free.


Free parking and shuttles. No pets allowed in the park.


For complete information and a schedule of events, visit



Sheila Pursglove's picture
Sheila Pursglove
Sheila Pursglove is a long-time Saline-area resident, and a freelance writer for several publications in Michigan, around the U.S. and abroad.