Best Heritage Festival: Dublin Irish Festival

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent
Coffman Park, Dublin,

Their motto is "Like Ireland, Except Smaller." We're not sure if they're referring to population or land mass because, either way, this 24-year-old, second-largest Irish festival in the world is huge. They're expecting 100,000-plus patrons this year (Aug. 5-7) and you better bring strollers and walking shoes for the long hikes from the satellite parking lots or around the spacious grounds of Coffman Park.

Once in, though, the atmosphere is contagiously fun, and kids are guaranteed to enjoy the thundering Irish dance performances (if they're not in one themselves), the music, storytelling and even the authentic food (somehow boiled potatoes seem edible when you slap a Celtic name like "coddle" on them).

The Wendy's Wee Folk Area is quite good. There are free crafts and a big bouncy playland area - $10 for all-day access and, critically, plenty of seating for beer-sipping grownups just on the outside perimeter.

Runners-up: Columbus Italian Festival, Greek Festival