The 24th annual Dublin Irish Festival at Coffman Park next weekend will feature a full slate of music, cultural activities, sports, food and dancing with a Celtic twist.

The 24th annual Dublin Irish Festival at Coffman Park next weekend will feature a full slate of music, cultural activities, sports, food and dancing with a Celtic twist.

The festival runs Aug. 5-7 in Coffman Park in Dublin, which is transformed into more than 29 acres of Irish entertainment and activities. The event will include 65 acts on seven different stages with both singers and dancers.

"Returning favorites in the entertainment lineup are Gaelic Storm," events administrator Mary Jo DiSalvo said. "This is their eighth time. They were the group that played in 'Titanic.' We've also got a returning favorite, the Step Crew. They're a touring dance act. They have fancy footwork and fantastic fiddling."

New to the lineup this year is Goitse & the Elders.

A new element at the Irish rock stage will let visitors get closer to the bands.

"We have a stage-side screen on the side of the Killian's Irish rock stage. People can see the screen from a greater distance," DiSalvo said. "We're doing that this year because it brings the entertainers closer to the audience. People can see up close and personal."

While Irish dancing will be featured on stage, the Columbus Feis will be held across Coffman Road at Coffman High School. A winners parade will be held at 8:30 p.m. Aug. 6 on the Irish Thunder Stage.

Festival visitors also can learn a little bit about Irish dance.

"Throughout the weekend, if people are interested, they can go to the Ceili dance tent to learn the steps for themselves," DiSalvo said.

The festival also will feature children's activities in the Wee Folks area.

"The Wendy's Wee Folk area is extremely popular year in and year out," DiSalvo said.

Children could do crafts, play on bounce games provided by SuperGames or check out some entertainment, events manager Alison LeRoy said.

"We have a variety to hit different age groups," LeRoy said. "For the youngest age group, we have a little area of free games for toddlers in the east Coffman shelter house. We do wristbands for the Pot o' Gold play land, where SuperGames is. That's $10 for a wristband. Last year, we let kids pan for different jewels in the river. It was popular last year."

Children also could create hats and crowns or shamrock bracelets and sunglasses in the craft area.

On stage, Pirate MacGregor, who tells tales of Irish pirates, and Candace Mazur-Darman are popular acts, LeRoy said.

"Candace gets kids involved on stage, and they help create the story," she said.

Elsewhere on the grounds are chances to shop, taste some Irish fare and drink. Cultural experiences also are available at Brian Boru's Ireland, showing what the emerald isle was like 1,000 years ago. Festival-goers could check out tents that teach about an Irish wake, genealogy and tools used to make linen and wool.

Irish sports events will be held in the greenfields area and will include the Hyland Heavy Weight games Aug. 6.

Aug. 7 will include Sunday morning services, including Irish Mass, traditional Mass, an interdenominational service and Druids service.

In lieu of tickets, guests may enter the festival for free until 11 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 7, if they bring a nonperishable food item for the Dublin Food Pantry.

DiSalvo said last year's collection netted more than 10,000 pounds of food for the local food pantry.

Aug. 7 also will include the annual Irish contests of reddest hair, most freckles and greenest eyes at 3 p.m. For the first time, a "best legs in a kilt" contest will be held at 6 p.m.

Redheads also will be aplenty Aug. 7 as a redhead social-networking group takes a group picture at the festival.

Tickets to the Dublin Irish Festival are $10 at the gate for adults. Admission for children ages 12 and younger is free. Discounted tickets are available online until Aug. 4 at

The Dublin Irish Festival will run from 4 p.m. to midnight Aug. 5, 11 a.m. to midnight Aug. 6 and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Aug. 7.