Dublin Villager

Dublin Irish Festival

Growing Coffman Park means more elbow room

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This year, the Dublin Irish Festival will have some room to breathe.

A southern expansion of Coffman Park will give the three-day festival more room and bring some changes to the set up.

Former farm land to the south has been turned into park land with trails and a new permanent bridge across forks of Indian Run.

"Anything that is below the new path is new land that we are using for the first time," Alison LeRoy, Dublin events administrator told council members last week.

The new land won't mean lots of new offerings at the Irish festival, but rather more space.

"We're not adding new things, we're trying to stretch out the areas that were overcrowded," LeRoy said.

The Celtic Rock Stage will be moved further south to give the often crowded stage more room, LeRoy said.

Dining and food tents will also be added to the area in addition to an area for food trucks in the southern part of Coffman Park.

Another crowded area -- the Wee Folk area and inflatable amusements -- will also be spread out this year.

"We moved out the kid's bouncy stuff," LeRoy said.

"Some of the biggest traffic areas got really crowded around there," she said.

"We moved them completely over and doubled it in size.

"We're not adding bouncy (rides) but spreading it out and adding shade tents."

Space expansion will also come to the Celtic Canine area, which will also host bog ponies this year.

"It will be a nice family animal area and right by the Coffman barn," LeRoy said.

The Celtic Sports area will also get more room with the new park land.

"We had sort of run out of space where we felt constrained," LeRoy said.

"This will give us more breathing room."

Bathrooms will also be moved around the festival grounds and the entrance where shuttles drop visitors will be moved south from the usual Post Road entrance, LeRoy said.

"I'm really excited about it," she said. "There will be a lot of changes."

While many activities in the south will spread out, the Irish Thunder, Trinity and Dublin stages will remain in their traditional locations.

Several councilmen asked about moving more stages south to lessen noise the festival's neighbors to the north have to deal with.

LeRoy said that could be coming in the future with other Coffman Park expansions.

"We wanted to see how the Celtic Rock stage would project in the south," she said, adding that it is the loudest stage at the festival.

"We have some plans of what to do in the future as things move along (in the park)."

The Dublin Irish Festival will run Aug. 1-3.

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