The three-day Ohio Celtic Festival kicks off on Aug. 12, bringing the celebration of Irish culture back to the Lake County Fairgrounds – the venue where it all began in 1994 – for the first time since 2018.
The date and location are a change from the past couple festivals, which were held in September at the Mentor Civic Center. Event founder Pat Coyne said that the venue and date change were made to offer more parking and avoid conflicts with football season.
Coyne is optimistic for this year’s festival after two years of the pandemic. Though the festival was held in 2021 after being canceled the year before, Coyne said that “it was much quieter, you know, getting started up again.”
“This year, in the beginning, we didn’t know, you know, if people were going to respond, but they are responding, because they got tired, probably, of being closed up,” he added.
This year’s event will include music from four members of the Irish band Celtic Thunder, which Coyne said has performed across the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
“We’re getting an awful lot of response from people outside of the area, you know, that are coming to see them,” he said.
According to a press release for the event and the event’s website, bands from the Northeast Ohio area will include first-time festival performers The Town Pants, as well as New Barleycorn, Brigid’s Cross, Callahan & O’Connor, Andrew McManus, Mossy Moran and No Strangers Here.
Other bands will come from across the United States, Canada and Ireland, including The Elders, The Tartan Terrors and Byrne & Kelley, as stated in the press release. Coyne called Kansas City-based The Elders “the head of…the rock-type groups of Celtic music right now,” noting that they will be at the festival all three days.
He added that the festival will also include a classical music performer, a high school Celtic choir from Michigan, Irish dance groups and bagpipe bands.
“It changes from year to year,” he said. “People enjoy it because we change the music.”
A full list and schedule of performers can be found at ohiocelticfestival.com. Coyne said there will be three stages running at the same time.
“We have something for everybody,” he added. “You won’t get bored, I guarantee it.”
In addition to the music, goods from Celtic vendors will be on display. These will include “hand-crafted jewelry, pottery and embroidered fashions,” as noted in the press release.
Coyne added that the festival will include inflatables and, on Aug. 13 and 14, visits from Irish wolfhounds and other Irish dog breeds. A Mass will be held at 10:30 am on Aug. 14.
Finally, the festival will include food and drink options.
New this year will be drinks from the Kilkenny, Ireland-based Sullivan’s Brewing Company. Other drink options will include Irish coffee, mead, Five Farms Irish Cream and drinks from Jameson Irish Whiskey, as noted by Coyne.
Tickets will cost $10 on Aug. 12 and $15 on Aug. 13-14, though the website notes that those over the age of 65 and students with a valid school ID only pay $10.
Admission will be free for children under 12 as long as they are with a paying adult, according to the press release.
The Lake County Fairgrounds is located at 1301 Mentor Ave. in Painesville Township. According to Coyne, the festival hours will be 5-10 pm on Aug. 12, 1-10 pm on Aug. 13 and noon to 7 pm on Aug. 14.
“We’re happy with what we’re doing and people are enjoying it and we build it around the family, a family event,” Coyne said.