I Love Dayton: Longtime volunteer preps for Celtic Fest

I Love Dayton

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Before tens of thousands of people head downtown this weekend for the annual Celtic Fest, a lot of behind the scenes prep work goes into the event.

Eric Dilger has been volunteering at Celtic Fest since it started in 2002. He says roughly 1,200 volunteers work to help put on the festival.

“It takes an army,” recognizes Shawn Kain, the Celtic Fest Publicity Co-Chair.

“The greatest thing about our festival is it’s 100% volunteer driven. We don’t pay anybody,” says Dilger.

Dilger says to get things ready, it takes a little bit of elbow grease, a little bit of heavy lifting, and a lot of chairs.

“There’s 3,000 chairs! Okay?! That is a lot of chairs to move and to set,” exclaims Dilger.

The festival brings about 100,000 people downtown, which is why it takes so much manpower to put it on. Organizers say it’s people like Dilger that make the festival possible.

“They’re really unsung heroes,” admits Kain. “It takes everybody to put this on, and I think we all take pride in it because we’re all volunteers.”

Despite the long hours leading up to the fun, Dilger says the crowds make it worth it.

“It’s almost a high, a rush when you see all those people,” says Dilger. “Like, I did all that and look who came to see it.”

Celtic Fest runs Friday 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

RTA is offering free shuttle services to the festival.

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