DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The 2014 Celtic Festival has been off to a great start.
Organizers said Friday, they saw record numbers in attendance for the 3-day festival, which is now in its 13th year.
But just as things were heating up for the headliner Gaelic Storm on Saturday, Metro Parks officials cancelled the remaining events.
All those in attendance were asked to leave for safety concerns due to oncoming severe weather.
But organizers told 2 NEWS that every year they’ve been hit with a bit of bad weather and it doesn’t strongly affect business.
And as more people attend the event, we’re learning that revenue at the festival is on the rise as well.
The sounds of high-pitched bagpipes, smells of sizzling potatoes and the movements of Irish dancers hitting the stage filled the Celtic festival and have taken the spotlight for the weekend, despite the onset of severe weather.
And the dollars coming in are helping put Dayton on the map.
“People come in from, you know, all areas of Ohio, you know, coming from outside Ohio just ’cause the festival has gained some notoriety so it’s just a good event to have exposure for the city,” said one lead organizer
For some, with such a large audience and customer base, the festival’s become a way to extend their brand and bring in income.
“Well this is a 100 percent of my income, so we have three shows a year and then we have a website and yeah it’s very significant,” said Matt Lowe, owner of Madmore Creations.
“We like the sales we have, so it’s one of our favorite festivals; we get a nice following here,” explained Rick Schaefer, whose eyes never left his hot grill filled with oozing cheesy potatoes and roast beef.
An executive chef with Brock Masterson’s Catering & Events, Schaefer said the lines build all throughout the day for his food.
Meanwhile, surrounding food vendors also reap the benefits of the growing crowds at the festival.
Others come to spend their money and see acts like Scythian, a band that’s in its 7th year of playing at the Celtic Festival.
“And again it has that home feel– has a family feel and it’s also very conducive to like collaboration with other players and we, time and time again, we walk out of it and say this is one of the very best,” said one musician with Scythian.
According to organizers, the festival continues to gain popularity and as that happens they believe dollars will keep pouring in.
“It’s just great seeing the numbers grow every single year and every year, we think we can’t get bigger, but it happens every single year,” one organizer said.
Officials are encouraging those who didn’t get to spend their dollars Friday or Saturday to check out the festival Sunday.
The event continues Sunday at 10:00 a.m. with the Gaelic mass. It will wrap up at 6:00 p.m. with Father, Son and Friends.
For a full list of event and the schedule, visit this website.