Although Ed Gaughan and his family have volunteered at the Dublin Irish Festival for the past 10 to 15 years, this year Gaughan will serve as the ambassador of the event, to be held Aug. 5 through 7 in Dublin's Coffman Park.

Although Ed Gaughan and his family have volunteered at the Dublin Irish Festival for the past 10 to 15 years, this year Gaughan will serve as the ambassador of the event, to be held Aug. 5 through 7 in Dublin's Coffman Park.

The Columbus resident and a prominent member of the central Ohio Irish Community was selected by Dublin Mayor Greg Peterson, City Manager Dana McDaniel and previous honorary chairmen.

In addition to presiding over opening and closing ceremonies, Gaughan will judge several Irish contests and officiate the start of a handful of other festival events, including the IGS Energy 5K and Kids Fun Run/Walk Aug. 4, the darts competition.

Brian Ferrier, regional vice president of operations for Giant Eagle, was honorary chairman of the festival in 2014. He and other former chairmen help select the new honoree, he said.

Giant Eagle is a major sponsor of the festival which draws more than 100,000 attendees to Dublin from throughout the U.S., Canada and the world.

Friday, July 22, the Giant Eagle Market District store at 6700 Perimeter Loop Road played host to the Dublin Irish Festival kickoff celebration which included live music, step-dancers, Irish foods and other treats.

Gaughan, president of County Mayo Corp., and his family are involved in the Dublin and Irish communities and volunteer during the festival, Ferrier said.

"Ed was a great choice for a number of reasons," Ferrier said.

Gaughan, who is a member and past president of the Shamrock Club of Columbus and involved with the Clann na nGael, Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Columbus Feis, and the Regan/Rankin Academy of Irish Dance, said he was excited to learn he was selected as chairman.

Volunteering at the festival "gives you a direct opportunity to interact (with) and meet" all kinds of people, Gaughan said.

For Gaughan, the festival now gives him the opportunity to reconnect with people he and his family have made friends with over the years through volunteering and representing the Irish community.

He's also a member of the festival's VIP clubs -- the Emerald Club, the Celtic Rock Club and the Dub Club.

Gaughan and his wife Alice's 12-year-old daughter, Victoria, also performs Irish dancing all three days during the festival.

The couple also has a 9-year-old daughter, Abrielle. Mrs. Gaughan and her daughters are part of the Daughters of Erin organization, which is also involved with the Irish Festival.

A central Ohio resident since 1994, Gaughan said he became involved with the Irish community about 2000. The Irish Festival was one of the events that introduced the Gaughans to the community, he said.

That first visit, Gaughan and his family watched a family member perform Irish dance, walked around the festival and listened to some of the bands play.

Now, attendees of the festival can hear bands play that hail from throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe and the world, Gaughan said. He takes pride in the fact that what he describes as the "biggest Irish festival in the world" is right on his doorstep.

ssole@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSarah