BELFAST, Maine — The organizers of the Maine Celtic Celebration are truly celebrating this week after counting all the donations from last weekend’s festival.
“It was our most successful one to date,” Bob MacGregor, president of the board of directors of the volunteer-run festival, said Tuesday afternoon. “We have covered all our expenses, and we even have a small surplus to help us with planning for next year.”
It was the sixth annual Maine Celtic Celebration, and an estimated 5,000-6,000 people came over the weekend to the Belfast waterfront, where they listened to music, watched highland-inspired games and cheered on the folks competing in the popular New World Cheese Rolling Championships. They also opened up their wallets, giving enough money to exceed the goal of $40,000. That’s the amount the celebration cost to put on this year, according to MacGregor, who did not specify exactly how much attendees had given over the two-day event.
He said the volunteers will use the surplus as a “safety net” and to boost the entertainment budget a little for the 2013 extravaganza. In the festival’s first five years, organizers broke even three times and came up a little short twice.
This summer, instead of having a bucket brigade of volunteers asking festival attendees for cash, planners set up tables at each of the main entrances and asked people for a suggested $10 donation. The strategy was so successful, MacGregor said, that on Saturday organizers even ran out of yellow stickers that announced a person had given money to the festival.
He said that it takes awhile to build this type of event and hopes that next year the Celtic theme will spread throughout Belfast.
“I have a business downtown,” MacGregor, who owns Out of the Woods, said. “It’s nice to participate in this kind of event that brings people to town and produces revenue for the other stores. I’d like to get more downtown business owners involved. Hopefully next year, we’ll get a more festive downtown, too.”