Dayton’s Christmas celebration is about to begin.
The 47th Dayton Holiday Festival will kicks off Nov. 29 with the Grande Illumination and Dayton Children’s Parade Spectacular in Lights.
Courthouse Square, at the corner of Third Street and Main Street, is the center of the evening full of family entertainment.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Activities planned for the day include the Grande Illumination tree-lighting ceremony, live musical entertainment, carnival rides and games, holiday crafts, horse-drawn wagon rides, a gingerbread house display, a street fair and live reindeer. The suggested cost for wagon rides is $1 per person, but all other activities are free.
TREE LIGHTING AND CHILDREN’S PARADE: The tree-lighting ceremony will take place at 7:45 p.m. on Courthouse Square. Approximately 50,000 colored lights will brighten the three-story tall tree.
The illumination will be followed immediately by the Dayton Children’s Parade Spectacular in Lights. Thousands of lights will illuminate the 45-minute parade that includes a variety of festive floats, entertainers, animals and several surprises. Grab a pair of free “magic glasses” on Courthouse Square before watching the tree lighting and parade to see the festival in a whole new light.
“The Grande Illumination and Dayton Children’s Parade Spectacular in Lights is a great night for the family to come downtown,” said Sandy Gudorf, president of the Downtown Dayton Partnership.
This year’s grand marshals for the parade include first responders who played important roles during most of the challenging events the Dayton community faced this past year.
HELP LOCAL FAMILIES IN NEED: For the Love of Children will be collecting donations to assist families in our community in need, like those impacted by the Memorial Day tornadoes. Stop by the tent near the tree and stage on Courthouse Square to learn more and make a donation.
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The Dayton Holiday Festival continues throughout the holiday season with such activities as the Family Movie Series at The Neon, the Tike’s Shoppe, Virginia Kettering’s Holiday Train Display, animated window displays and entertainment in the Schuster Center Wintergarden, and more.
Main Stage Entertainment ― Enjoy live entertainment on the Courthouse Square stage. Performances begin around 4 p.m. The schedule is:
- 4-4:25 p.m. — Blue Heron Trio
- 4:40-5:00 p.m. — Viva La Strings
- 5:10-5:30 p.m. — Berachah Valley
- 5:40-6:05 p.m. — Sinclair Chorus
- 6:20-6:55 p.m. — Alexis Gomez
- 7:10-7:45 p.m. — Dayton Celebration Chorus
Live reindeer photo station — Meet two of Santa’s reindeer and take a family photo with a sleigh and live reindeer from 4-9 p.m. at Courthouse Square.
Gingerbread Homes for the Holidays Contest ― This year, visitors get the chance to view the best gingerbread houses on the block. From 4-8 p.m., delicious and dazzling entries from the past will be on display at the Old Court House.
Street Fair on Third ― At this holiday street fair, free rides will be set up on Third Street between Main and Ludlow streets from 4-9 p.m.
Horse-Drawn Wagon Rides ― From 4 to 7:30 p.m., wagons will pick up passengers at the corner of Second and Main streets in front of the Premier Health Center for a ride through downtown. Rides are $1 per person. Lines can be long, so come early. It is possible the line will close earlier than the scheduled end time to ensure those in line get their rides.
The Holiday Village ― Located in the Stratacache Tower lobby at the southeast corner of Second and Main streets from 4-9 p.m., this is a favorite stop for children, featuring free crafts and games for kids. Kids also can make holiday arts and crafts and play games.
Junior League of Dayton’s Holiday Adventure ― Kids will go on an adventure around the festival and those who visit all stops will receive a free book. It will start at Courthouse Square.
The Tike’s Shoppe ― For decades, children in Dayton have been able to shop for their loved ones in a store that’s just their size. The shop will be located in the Schuster Center Wintergarden near the entrance at Ludlow and Second streets, and will officially open the day of the Grande Illumination from 3-9 p.m. (with Santa there from 4-7:45 p.m.). The Tike’s Shoppe will be open on selected dates through Dec. 23. Santa will be present on all open days from 2-5 p.m. For specific times, call (937) 416-4504.
Wintergarden Wonderland ― Come see one of the area’s longest-running holiday traditions — the old Rike’s department store holiday window displays. See animated elves, woodland animals, violinists and skaters right at the corner of Second and Main streets in the Schuster Center lobby. New this year, the redesigned windows have undergone a Merry Makeover. The space will be open November 29-December 31, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday from noon-4 p.m. For specific times, call (937) 228-7591.
Grande Illumination ― The tree-lighting ceremony will take place at 7:45 p.m. on Courthouse Square.
Dayton Children’s Parade Spectacular in Lights ― More than 50,000 lights will illuminate the floats and other units in the parade, which starts immediately following the Grande Illumination. The route: West Second Street to Main Street, south on Main Street to Fourth Street, and then west on Fourth Street.
Closed from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m.:
• Third Street between Main and Ludlow
Closed from 3 p.m. until 10 p.m.:
• Second Street between Perry and Vista View
Closed from 5:30 p.m. until 10 p.m.:
• Wilkinson Street between Second and Third
• Ludlow Street between First and Second
Closed from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m.:
• Main Street between First and Fifth
• Second Street between Jefferson and Perry
• Third Street between Jefferson and Perry
• Fourth Street between Jefferson and Ludlow
• Wilkinson Street between Maple and Fourth
• Southbound Red Cross Lane between First and Second
• Southbound Stafford Street between First and Second
WANT TO GO?
What: Dayton Holiday Festival
When: Kicks off with Grande Illumination and Dayton Children’s Parade at 7:45 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 29. The festival lasts through the end of December.
Where: Downtown Dayton, main events take place in and around Courthouse Square
Cost: Free, with a suggested price of $1 per person to participate in the horse-drawn wagon rides
More Info: Website