The annual United Irish of Dayton Celtic Festival - one of Dayton's largest and most popular outdoor festivals - returns July 28-30. A downtown Dayton tradition since 2002, this free festival attracts more than 90,000 attendees to RiverScape MetroPark.
Saturate your senses in the sights, sounds and tastes of Celtic heritage, as you delight in the enchanting melodies of traditional Celtic music, witness captivating dance performances, and savor authentic culinary delights. The 2023 festival features seven headliner bands and several regional performers on various stages of continuous entertainment, in addition to cultural exhibits and food and merchandise vendors.
The Dayton Celtic Festival also serves as the unofficial kick-off to the late summer/early fall festival season in Dayton - but more on that shortly! First, here's a brief look at this year's festivities.
Rated one of the top festivals in Dayton, the Celtic Festival boasts three solid days of non-stop entertainment. In addition to three stages with continuous live entertainment, the festival experience includes a 5K/10K run/walk, Parade of Kilts, Whiskey Tastings, Cultural Exhibits and Demonstrations, a Sunday Celtic Mass, a Celtic Marketplace featuring over 40 vendors with unique items from the Celtic nations, numerous food vendors offering tastes from around the world, and extensive selection of beers to enjoy.
Music is one of the festival's biggest draws - and the 2023 musical lineup features several prominent headliners, as well as 20+ regional Celtic acts.
This year’s headlining bands will perform multiple sets throughout the weekend:
- Gaelic Storm (Friday at 9:40 p.m., Saturday at 9:30 p.m., Sunday at 4:30 p.m.)
- The Fitzgeralds (Friday at 8:40 p.m., Saturday at 12 & 3:40 p.m., Sunday at 5 p.m.)
- Doolin’ (Friday at 7:50 p.m., Saturday at 1:30 & 7:40 p.m., Sunday at 12 p.m.)
- Boxing Banjo (Friday at 10 p.m., Saturday at 12 & 4:30 p.m., Sunday at 2:10 p.m.)
- Socks in the Frying Pan (Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 6 & 9:30 p.m., Sunday at 3 p.m.)
- Davy Holt (Friday at 7:20 p.m., Saturday at 1:50 & 5:30 p.m., Sunday at 12 p.m.)
- The Drowsy Lads (Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 3:10 & 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 1:30 p.m.)
Other regional and local acts scheduled to perform at the Dayton Celtic Festival include Dulahan, Father Son and Friends, Jameson's Folly, Miami Valley Pipes and Drums, The Rice Brothers, Celtic Academy of Irish Dance, Dwyer School of Irish Dance, and MocGovern Irish Dance. Performance times for all of these acts can be found at the entertainment section of the festival website.
How to Go to the Dayton Celtic Festival
The Dayton Celtic Festival takes place rain or shine (but don't worry, there's plenty of covered seating), and admission is FREE. Festival hours are:
Friday, July 28, 5.30 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Saturday, July 29, 11.30 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Sunday, July 30, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
> Dayton.com: 10 Things to Know about the Celtic Festival
A full schedule of events for the weekend can be found on the Celtic Festival website. Be sure to check out the parking information on their website, as there will be large crowds and street closures in downtown Dayton during the festival (parts of Patterson Boulevard, Monument Avenue and St. Clair Street will be closed during the festival). A festival map and FAQ can be found online as well.
The festival committee is also looking for additional volunteers to help during the weekend of the event. Areas requiring the most support are setup, which occurs primarily on Thursday, July 27, and teardown on Sunday, July 30.
Celebrating Summer & Fall Festival Season in Dayton
Festival season is already in full swing, but as we mentioned at the beginning of this post, the Dayton Celtic Festival leads the way into numerous late summer and early fall festivals in the Dayton area. These include the Dayton Liederkranz Turner Germanfest Picnic (August 11-13), the Dayton African American Cultural Festival (August 19 & 20), Lebanese Festival (August 25-27) Italian Fall Festa (September 8-10), Hispanic Heritage Festival (September 16), Germantown Pretzel Festival (September 23 & 24), Dayton Art Institute Oktoberfest (September 22-24), and the Wagner Subaru Outdoor Experience (October 7 & 8), to name just a few!
So get your walking shoes ready and download our FREE Visit Dayton app to make all your Dayton festival plans! Watch for a full fall festival preview in an upcoming Discover Dayton Blog post, and be sure to also bookmark our Calendar of Events!