The Tradition Continues

 The Tradition Continues

Dayton Celtic Festival set for its 18th year on July 26-28

Eric Spangler

For the second straight year the Dayton Celtic Festival is going to the dogs— Irish wolfhounds, to be exact.

That’s because a local group of Irish wolfhound owners will bring their gentle giants—the tallest of all American Kennel Club breeds—to the free festival to share the history of this breed of dog that became a symbol of Irish nationalism during the Celtic Revival.

The Irish wolfhounds were so popular with visitors at last year’s festival that the group was invited to this year’s festival as well, says Steve Baldwin, marketing director of the festival. “They were a big hit so they’re going to be back this year,” he says. “Those dogs are so cool.”

The Irish wolfhounds are just one of the many cool things to see and do at the 18th annual Dayton Celtic Festival, Dayton’s largest downtown festival with more than 100,000 people attending in 2018, says Baldwin.

There’s plenty of music during the three-day festival on July 26-28, including the always-popular Gaelic Storm, along with returning headlining musical acts Scythian, Rory Makem, Socks In the Frying Pan and The Fitzgeralds, and new musical acts Cuig and Doolin’ along with plenty of regional acts on four stages.

There are plenty of food options available for those who get hungry during the event, including authentic Irish fare, says Baldwin. “And for those who weren’t looking for that there’s everything else … up and down the menu,” he says.

Need something to wash down that grub? There are many options for soft drinks, authentic Irish beverages, craft beers and even whiskey. Don’t know much about whiskey but want to learn? Whiskey tasting classes will be conducted in the cultural workshop area during the festival.

The cultural area is where visitors can learn all about Ireland, Scotland and Wales from authors, storytellers, knitting organizations, traditional blacksmiths, bakers, rugby organizations and staff members of the Dayton Metro Library’s genealogy department.

For those who want to get in the spirit of the event, which runs rain or shine, wear a kilt to the festival and participate in the Parade of Kilts where bagpipers and flag bearers lead the kilt-wearers around the festival grounds.

Make sure to bring the kids to this family friendly festival because the Rainbow’s End Children’s Area has games, picture boards, Celtic crafts, tattoos, miniature golf and a castle.

Another popular event is the Sunday mass at 10 a.m. on Sunday, July 28, at the United Irish of Dayton stage in the Five Rivers MetroParks Pavilion. The mass is presented in Gaelic and English and Irish dancers and pipers will also be present.

For those who need to fuel up for the events on Sunday there’s the Celtic Breakfast at the “Top of the Morn’n Café” located in the beer garden across from the main stage on Monument Avenue from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Proceeds from the breakfast benefit the festival.

So why is the Dayton Celtic Festival so popular? “If you have no Irish descent and even if you’re not interested in cultural activities as such it’s just a really fun time,” says Baldwin. “It’s got a nice vibe, a nice energy, it’s always a very pleasant crowd and just a fun, friendly, family time.”