Dublin Villager

Dublin Irish Festival

Report: Event pumped $8.3M into local economy

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Central Ohio saw a pot o' gold in August, thanks to the Dublin Irish Festival.

According to an economic impact report conducted on the 2013 Dublin Irish Festival, the annual event generated $8.3 million for the central Ohio economy.

Records show 104,000 people attended the three-day event.

The last economic impact report on the Dublin Irish Festival was done in 2006 when 92,280 people attended the festival and spent $5.6 million in the area.

"We do these periodically so we can monitor the economic impact," said Mary Jo DiSalvo, a Dublin events administrator.

"It's something we are not able to do without an outside firm."

Dublin conducts surveys each year to get input on visitor experience and opinion, but an economic impact study can give the organizers some value information.

"We can conduct our opinion surveys on how we can improve, but with that we can't determine what the financial impact is on our own," DiSalvo said.

The findings of the study will show the benefits of hosting the Dublin Irish Festival, said Alison LeRoy, Dublin events manager.

"It can help to remind council and residents what the festival does for our community," LeRoy said.

"A lot of people know the intangible: it's a great feel-good event.

"But, now, they know it is good for the community financially," LeRoy said.

"A lot of data we gather helps us define the direction of our marketing," DiSalvo said.

The festival itself generated $1.94 million in revenue, as of Nov. 14 and cost $1.78 million to produce.

As for the 104,000 people who attended the festival, 57 percent were from the central Ohio area and 43 percent were considered non local.

According to the study, $3.9 million of the $8.3 million in money generated by the event came from non-locals.

Of spending done by non locals, $1.05 million was on accommodations, the study said.

Visitors spent $825,000 on merchandise at the festival and $790,000 on concessions.

Car rental places saw $60,000 thanks to the festival and non locals also spent $70,000 on clothing purchased off-site, the study said.

Locals spent about $2.3 million on festival related expenses and $1.2 million was spent in restaurants, bars and on concessions.

None of the information found by the economic impact study came as much of a surprise to festival organizers.

"It's fairly consistent," LeRoy said.

"When we do the survey ourselves, it's nice to have the firms come in and show that we are consistent from year to year," she said.

"It shows our surveys are accurate."

Both the surveys done every year and the new economic impact study will guide the festival in the future.

Although plans have been underway for what to do with more festival space as Coffman Park expands, LeRoy said organizers will take the new studies into consideration.

"It really helps us tell our story," she said.

"We had a record-breaking year financially and in numbers in every way.

"It's great to be able to show what a great economic impact we do have on our community," LeRoy said.

"We know the festival has put Dublin, Ohio, on the map in many ways, but to know the whole region is striving financially because of it is very significant," DiSalvo said.

Both the economic impact study and the annual Dublin Irish Festival report can be found online at dublinirishfestival.org.

The 2014 Dublin Irish Festival will be held Aug. 1-3 in Coffman Park.