DUBLIN — The organizers of the Dublin Irish Festival are saying this weekend’s event could be the largest ever, with more than 100,000 guests expected to attend.
“This year’s Festival is coming home to Coffman Park and is planned to return to the traditional event,” said the City of Dublin website (dublinohiousa.gov).
“We’re excited to say the Dublin Irish Festival is coming home to Coffman Park,” Dublin’s Director of Community Events Alison LeRoy said in March. “It’s going to feel like a big family reunion having everyone back in the same place celebrating Irish heritage and culture once again.”
The 35th festival takes place from 4 p.m.-midnight Friday, 11 a.m.-midnight Saturday, and 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday in the 38-acre Coffman Park and downtown Dublin.
“Join us for the best of Irish dance, music, art, and culture at the largest three-day Irish Festival on the planet,” reads the information tag on the festival’s Facebook page. And the festival’s website said, “With 7 stages, 65 acts and more than 535 performers, there is something for everyone.”
It began in 1988 with Irish dancers on a tennis court and 500 people attending. The idea was to celebrate Dublin, Ireland’s 1,000th year as a city. And it’s been growing ever since.
“Now after two years of uncertainty, the Dublin Irish Festival invites the Irish and the Irish-at-heart to celebrate together once again,” the city’s website said.
Cultural events include workshops, Irish lore and traditions, a wake, author’s corner, and Celtic cooking recipes such as Guinness chocolate walnut cake. One of the favorite activities is the Irish whiskey tastings. There are many shopping opportunities, from Celtic clothes and jewelry to violins and other musical instruments.
Visitors can watch various sports contests, mostly involving who can throw weighted objects the farthest. There’s also darts competitions and seminars. For the kiddos, there’s a group of inflatables, a wee folk area, and Celtic canines.
Naturally, the food vendors favor Irish and Scottish cuisine like fish and chips, baked goods, Reuben sandwiches and Irish stew. However, there’s plenty of fair fare, and hometown fast food favorite Wendy’s is selling Frosty’s to benefit the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.
The entertainers are too many to mention, but here’s a few notables: The Real Irish Comedy Tour (at the Abbey Theater), fiddler Eileen Ivers, Drowsy Lads, Gaelic Storm, Socks in the Frying Pan, Dervish, and We Banjo 3.
Last, but not least, there’s cheeky Celtic rockers the Red Hot Chilli Pipers.
For more information, visit dublinirishfestival.org.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.