Each time Matt Lowe returns to the Dublin Irish Festival to sell his refurbished antiques, he gets treated like "the hometown boy," he said, receiving hugs from volunteers and clients alike.
"I can't imagine not being a part of it," he said.
Lowe, who creates custom pub signs and other vintage-feel items with Irish flair for his business, Madmor Creations, is one in a fleet of vendors who will be selling wares at the Irish Festival. The three-day festival runs Friday, Aug. 3, through Sunday, Aug. 5, in Coffman Park, 5200 Emerald Parkway in Dublin.
This year's festival will feature more than 50 vendors selling Irish-themed products, said Sara O'Malley, a Dublin events specialist.
Vendors apply online and submit merchandise samples for a volunteer committee to review, said Mary Jo DiSalvo, a Dublin events administrator.
The Marketplace, near the Ceili Stage adjacent to the festival's east entrance gate, features options at many price points, she said.
The Emerald Isle, near the Irish Thunder Stage at the western boundary of the festival grounds adjacent to the Dublin Community Recreation Center at 5600 Post Road, is an area for artisans selling handcrafted items, DiSalvo said.
"That's what makes them special," she said.
Lowe, a Radnor resident, said this would be his sixth Dublin Irish Festival. The festival is the only one he attends as a vendor, he said.
The most popular items he sells, Lowe said, are antiques, which he refurbishes, adding Irish-inspired design and symbols, such as Celtic knots, designs and borders.
Lowe is a veteran of the festival, but this will be photographer Jim Murphy's first time.
The Boulder, Colorado, resident is from Limerick, Ireland, and he visits his home country about twice a year, taking photos of the Irish countryside in his home city, as well as Belfast, Cork, Dublin and Galway.
Murphy said he sells his products at many Irish, Scottish and Celtic festivals throughout the country, but the Dublin Irish Festival's reputation is what attracted him.
"I was keen to get in there," he said.
As for Sean Berton, a trip to Ireland helped inspire him to begin making Irish-inspired jewelry, he said.
Berton, a resident of Berkeley, California, has been attending the Dublin Irish Festival for almost two decades, selling sterling silver and 14-karat gold rings, pendants, earrings, cuff bracelets, tie tacks and cuff links.
The storytelling, music, authors and step-dancing at the Dublin Irish Festival set the event apart, Berton said.
"It's not a, 'Kiss me, I'm Irish,' festival," he said.
The Dublin Irish Festival was founded in 1988. It typically draws more than 100,000 people. In addition to music and dancing on seven stages, the festival features cultural and children's activities.
The festival is scheduled for 4 p.m. to midnight Aug. 3, 11 a.m. to midnight Aug. 4 and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Aug. 5. Gates open at 9:30 a.m. Aug. 5 for Sunday services and breakfast. Sunday admission before 11 a.m. is free with the donation of a nonperishable food item for the Dublin Food Pantry.
Complimentary public parking is available near the park.
One-day tickets can be purchased online for $10 or for $15 after Aug. 2. A three-day ticket is $25. Children 12 and younger will be admitted free. Tickets for those 60 years old and older, military members or students with valid identification are $12 after Aug. 2.
For more information, go to www.dublinirishfestival.org.