DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Celtic Festival 2016 continued Saturday with tens of thousands coming together to celebrate the Miami Valley’s Irish roots. Every year it pumps millions in to the local economy.
Organizers say business generated from the festival has grown into something the local economy has come to depend on.
An estimated 90,000 people will make their way through Riverscape Metro Park this weekend. Many are coming from all over, spending money right here in the Miami Valley.
“Everyone that comes here purchases beverage tickets,” Mary Robertson said. “They support our vendors they stay in hotels.”
Mary Robertson with the Celtic Festival Committee is just one of roughly 400 volunteers helping put on the celebration. She says over the years the festival expanded from an Irish tradition into a community wide effort.
“Celtic Festival started as the picnic for the Irish Club here in Dayton,” Robertson said. “The Ancient Order and it has grown every year because we offer it free.”
“The volunteers,” Paul Conover said. “Are what makes this happen.”
Most of them are responsible for serving the festival’s Irish Beer. Something that’s become the backbone of the event year after year.
“The festival lives on it’s beverage sales,” Conover said. “So if we have bad weather we’re in financial trouble, we’ve got a huge crew of volunteers.”
Along with the volunteers, are dozens of local vendors, including cork and bottle grill.
“This is one of our biggest of the year for crowd size and what he have to pay to set up here,” Shane Highley said. “His is definitely one of the largest we do.”
Highley says crowds have been anything but disappointingly
“The lines have just been non-stop,” Highley said. “If you look around here everybody’s got a line and that’s the sign of a good thing and means there’s a lot of people here.”
The festival run Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.