Despite the recession, the 2009 Dublin Irish Festival increased its attendance and revenue.

Despite the recession, the 2009 Dublin Irish Festival increased its attendance and revenue.

The city's communications department had good news for Dublin City Council members last week when they reviewed the annual report.

The 2009 event -- held July 31 to Aug. 2 -- drew a record-breaking crowd of 102,400 to Coffman Park.

Alison LeRoy, events administrator, said a goal of the 2009 festival was to increase attendance on Friday and Sunday by offering free tickets to corporate residents and free admission with a canned good on Sunday morning.

Attendance was up by 34 percent on Friday, and Sunday's attendance also saw a 19 percent increase.

Saturday, the busiest day, saw a decrease of 4-percent in attendance, LeRoy said.

With attendance up, LeRoy said the Irish festival also saw a 10-percent increase in revenue from last year.

The city's gross revenue from beverage sales was $696,688 and the net revenue was $443,396.

"We really are making a good profit on beverages," LeRoy said.

This year's event offered different types of beer, soda, water and a whiskey tasting, which LeRoy said could be credited with the increase in profit.

"We contribute the increase (in beverage revenue) to the increase in offerings," she said. "There was an increase of 9-percent this year."

Sponsorships also did well; LeRoy said there was a 15-percent increase in cash sponsorship.

Despite better attendance and revenues, LeRoy said city staff members have been working to keep costs level.

The lion's share of Dublin Irish Festival costs go to professional services that include the entertainment, stages, sound, lighting, tents, tables and chairs. According to the annual Irish festival report, $1-million of the $1.4-million in expenditures went into professional services this year.

Other costs include communications, advertising, printing and volunteer services. All saw decreases in 2009.

With $1.4-million in expenditures and more than 100,000 visitors, LeRoy said the festival brought an estimated $6.22-million to central Ohio. The Dublin Convention and Visitors Bureau reported 1,830 room nights were brought in by the festival, a 3-percent increase over last year.

"(The festival) is the second largest room-night producer of the year," LeRoy said.

Revenues did not pass over local nonprofit organizations; LeRoy reported that more than $100,000 was earned by local groups through the Sharing O' the Green program.

LeRoy said there is a waiting list for groups to staff beverage booths. In 2009, volunteer groups earned $92,000 by working at beverage booths.

A few council members were worried that all local groups were not getting a shot at the beverage booths and asked LeRoy to look into a way to rotate the groups or offer more groups a chance to raise money at the Irish festival.