Dublin Villager

Weather affected 2012 Irish Festival attendance

Although 6,000 fewer guests attended the event, revenues fell only 1 percent

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Attendance for the 2012 Dublin Irish Festival dipped by about 6,000 people, but revenue saw a reduction of only about 1 percent.

Hot weather and storms have chased Irish festival guests off the past two years, dropping attendance from 102,000 in 2010 to 92,000 last year and 86,000 this year, information from the Dublin Irish Festival annual report said.

"The heat was one thing," said Festival Director Alison LeRoy, adding that storms were predicted throughout the three-day festival.

"Sometimes we get hurt more by the weather report than the weather on site," LeRoy said.

"Storms were predicted in the area, but the only rain we got was Sunday morning," she said.

"It kept missing us. It was great for the people here, but it you're sitting at home and it's pouring there, you assume it's pouring here," LeRoy said.

Despite the decline in attendance, revenue for the festival wasn't significantly impacted.

Revenue from the 2012 festival is expected to be $1.73 million, down from $1.74 million in 2011.

The greatest amount of revenue was collected in 2010 when festival guests spent $1.84 million, the recently released festival report said.

"We had about a 1-percent decrease in revenue," LeRoy said of the 2012 festival.

Revenue stayed strong, LeRoy said, because of ticket presales, whiskey tastings and other popular activities.

"Because it was so warm we sold a lot of water and soda," she added.

Merchants at the festival reported an increase in sales, LeRoy said.

"They actually reported sales up from the previous year," she said.

"Maybe it was the economy and people are more positive about spending. There were less people, but they spent more."

More people at the festival also recycled at the 2012 event. The festival recycled 6.75 tons of waste while a half a ton of food and other items were composted.

"Recycling was up slightly," LeRoy said. "It's one of the things we know we have a ways to go on.

"In the budget we put in to get more recycling containers," LeRoy said. "We'll have as many recycling containers as we do trash containers (next year)."

Along with encouraging festival guests to bike to the event -- this year 700 people cycled there -- solar panels helped generate power for the sport area.

LeRoy said solar panels powered the sports field and some lights there.

"It allowed us to get rid of one of the generators that we have over there," she said.

The pilot program was part of an effort by a local electrician group that takes the solar panels to events, LeRoy said.

As the 2012 Dublin Irish Festival celebrated its 25th anniversary, an Irish Author's Corner was included in the lineup for the first time. It could return in the future.

"It was something we always wanted to get off the ground," LeRoy said, adding that it'll likely return next year. "We can make it even better than it was this year."

With the 25th anniversary past, LeRoy said planning for the future is a major goal.

"It's great now that we've had 25 years, it's interesting to look at what the next 25 years will be," she said. "Obviously we've had tremendous growth, but now we're trying to decide what we want for the next 25 years to keep it strong."

Comments