Irish music is always the big draw at the Dayton Celtic Festival. However, the event — presented by United Irish of Dayton at RiverScape MetroPark, Friday through Sunday, July 26-28 — continues to expand its other offerings.
The free festival features workshops, vendors, food, beer, children’s activities and Sunday Mass. Returning favorites include the Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey tastings at 5 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday and the Celtic breakfast from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday. Special guests include authors Cindy Thomson and Terence O’Leary and storyteller Cathy Jo Smith.
New to the festival this year are the Irish Music Sessions. Join Irish musicians of all skill levels and join in jigs, reels and the energy that comes with a community music session. Instruments will be provided, but you can also bring your own. You may even get the opportunity to jam with some of your favorite artists and headliners.
Many cultural demonstrations, presenters and workshops will be available, including Baking with Bill Evans of Evans Bakery, Five Points Cloggers and Introduction to Irish Music.
The kids can also experience and enjoy the Celtic experience with the Rainbow’s End Children’s Area. Games, picture boards, Celtic crafts and more will be available for the wee ones. The area is open on Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
This year’s lineup includes the festival debut of Irish five-piece band Cuig, and Doolin’ will bring Irish music with a French touch as another festival first. Returning headliners include Gaelic Storm, Scythian, Socks in the Frying Pan, the Fitzgeralds and Rory Makem. The festival also features local talent such as Dulahan, Father Son and Friends, the Drowsy Lads and Jameson’s Folly.