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Dayton has plenty of festivals, but the ones that keep people coming back have a good mix of food, culture, and entertainment for people of all ages.
As an anticipated 70,000 people crowd into RiverScape MetroPark for next weekend's Celtic Festival, organizers hope they'll find something for everyone.
The Celtic Festival, a celebration of Celtic culture, is held annually by United Irish of Dayton, a group promoting Irish heritage in the area. Plenty of Irish food, music, culture and entertainment will be on hand, said Steve Baldwin, Vice President of United Irish.
"It's the festivity itself, it's the crowds, it's seeing people downtown and some life getting injected into the area. It's three days of nonstop entertainment," Baldwin said.
Headliners include Scythian, Gaelic Storm, Slide – Ireland, Enter the Haggis, and Máirtín de Cógáin Project. Three of the bands are releasing albums at the event, Baldwin said, adding they've been the big draw for the Celtic Festival in recent years. Another twelve local bands and four dance groups will perform at the event.
The Festival promises plenty of Irish food, Baldwin said, adding this year's sponsors include Flanagan's Pub, which will serve import beers, and Guinness, which has its own exhibition at the fest. Maybe you've never had Guinness beer, but it's certainly one of my favorites. With the beautiful froth and full body, though, the Irish dry stout is notoriously tricky to pour.
"They're bringing in one of their big fancy Guinness trucks, the Guinness girls are going to be there, they've got a whole history and cultural exhibit they're bringing, as well as a how-to-pour-the-perfect-Guinness Beer station." Baldwin said, "Guinness is doing a lot for us this year."
Other activities include a 5K run and walk sponsored by Kettering Sports Medicine and a Celtic Bike Ride
Still, the roots of the Celtic Festival are not lost on its organizers. Many cultural demonstrations will take place, including an outdoor Gaelic Mass and céilí dancing – a form of choreographed group Irish dancing.
"The food and merchandise and vendors who come in, you put it all together and it's a really great mix." Baldwin said.
Flanagan's told me they'd host an after-party at the bar, at 101 E. Stewart Street. The pub has been a great supporter of the fest with performances on its own stage. If you've never been there, Celtic Festival is the perfect time.
With cultural demonstrations, music, and an area specially for children, Baldwin said the festival has successfully appealed to a wide range of people – younger attendees like the music while families gravitate to the other activities.
"It's really been crafted to appeal to all ages." Baldwin said, "There's a whole lot of 20-somethings that come and listen to the bands, but by the same token, there's truly something for everybody."
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