The Dublin Irish Festival and the National Hockey League are teaming up to celebrate a pair of special milestones.
As part of its 100th anniversary, the NHL will present its Centennial Fan Arena at the festival from Friday, Aug. 4, through Sunday, Aug. 6. The fan arena includes a 53-foot museum truck, and the Stanley Cup will be on display from 4-9 p.m. Aug. 4 and from noon-4 p.m. Aug. 5.
Adding the NHL to the festival’s lineup should help attract new guests, said Sara O’Malley, an event specialist for the festival, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary.
“Even though we have a strong sports base, we also know it’s going to bring in a new demographic, which is always exciting for us,” O’Malley said. “Our team goal and mission is to expose as many people as we can to authentic Irish culture and experiences.”
The museum truck features interactive digital displays, video content, memorabilia, photos and Columbus Blue Jackets history. The truck also includes a Zamboni virtual reality experience, which allows fans to compete against each other in a race to resurface the ice.
Fans will be able to have photos taken with the Stanley Cup. Several current and former Blue Jackets players will greet fans and sign autographs, and the team’s mascot, Stinger, will make an appearance.
Karen Davis, the director of communications for the Blue Jackets, said awards presented to players and coach John Tortorella last season also will be on display.
Tortorella won the Jack Adams Award, which is presented annually to the league’s top coach.
Other awards expected to be on display include Sergei Bobrovsky’s Vezina Trophy (top goaltender) and team captain Nick Foligno’s Mark Messier Leadership Award and King Clancy Memorial Trophy, the latter of which also is presented for leadership.
The fan arena will be located next to the Greenfields Sports Area and near the festival’s southwest entrance.
The Blue Jackets have been a corporate sponsor of the festival since 2010.
“We try and be good neighbors and good partners in the community and support the community through a number of different initiatives on the marketing side, the community side and the foundation side of things,” said J.D. Kershaw, vice president of marketing for the team. “This is just one of the ways that we try to do that.”
In conjunction with the 100th anniversary, the NHL Centennial Fan Arena will visit all 31 of the league’s markets.
“This is a very special year,” said Jasmine Ghafour, manager of communications for the NHL.
“The NHL is celebrating its centennial anniversary and as part of our broader celebration, the commissioner, Gary Bettman, wanted to do something that gave back to all of our communities and (is) a real thank you to the fans. This the first time we’ve ever done something like this.”
Sports were added to the festival in 1994 and have included a 5K run, which is held each year on Thursday to help kick off the event.
Other sports include an amateur boxing showcase, a Gaelic sports exhibition, the Great Lakes Scottish Athletes Association Amateur Highland Games, the International Highland Games Federation Stones of Strength qualifier, darts competitions and sheep herding demonstrations.