- Don Thrasher, Contributing Writer
There are a handful of notable arts and culture festivals in the area each month but that number grows significantly in the spring and summer. This time of year there is a plethora of festivals with broad appeal and others with a more focused theme. Whether you’re an airplane enthusiast, a craft beer aficionado or a music fanatic, there are specialized events to meet those interests.
Here’s a look at a dozen signature festivals in the area along with a more extensive listing of spring and summer events.
1. HERITAGE FESTIVAL
Date: Sunday, May 29
What’s the story? Dayton History presents its annual old-fashioned patriotic celebration with theatrical presentations, hands-on demonstrations, grand finale fireworks and performances by the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, vocalist Minnita Daniel Cox and members of Dayton Ballet. Carillon’s historic displays will be open during the festival, including the new World War I exhibition, “Over There: Dayton in the Great War.”
Location: Carillon Historical Park, 1000 Carillon Blvd., Dayton
Hours: 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Cost: Free for Dayton History members and children younger than 3, $8 adults, $7 seniors (60 and older), $5 students and children (3-17)
More info: 937-293-2841 or www.daytonhistory.org
2. GREATER DAYTON PRIDE 2016
Date: Friday through Sunday, June 3 and 5
What’s the story? PNC presents the 40th annual Greater Dayton Pride celebration with three days of events starting with the Affair on the Square with the Rubi Girls at 5 p.m. Friday. The evening concludes with a .5K bar crawl. The parade begins at Cooper Park, at Second and St. Clair streets, at noon Saturday and makes its way downtown where the Pride Festival continues from noon to 4 p.m. Dayton Gay’s Men’s Chorus perform at a ticketed event at Victoria Theatre at 8 p.m. Saturday. Sunday’s activities at Welcome Stadium include the PFLAG 5K run/walk at 10 a.m. and Spike & Heels Kickball Tournament.
Location: Courthouse Square, Third and Main streets, Dayton
Hours: 5 p.m. Friday, noon Saturday, 10 a.m. Sunday
Cost: Free except for $22-$32 Dayton Gay Men’s Chorus.
More info: www.daytonlgbtcenter.org
Date: Saturday and Sunday, June 4 and 5
What’s the story? Strawberries are the hook for this massive outdoor event, which has been attracting thousands of folks to downtown Troy each spring since 1977. However, the annual festival offers a whole lot more, including a parade, the Little Miss & Mr. Pageant, the 10K Classic, Diaper Derby and live music by Fourth Avenue, Higgins Madewell, Jerry Mullins, Shades of Grey and others. Make sure you try the donuts.
Location: Main and Market streets, Troy
Hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday
More info: www.gostrawberries.com
4. JEWISH CULTURAL FESTIVAL
Date: Sunday, June 5
What’s the story? The sixth annual Jewish Cultural Festival is organized each year with a focus on sharing traditions and faith with Jewish and non-Jewish members of the community. The event features music, educational programs, vendors, games and kosher craft beer. Jewish dishes will be available from local food purveyors such as El Meson, Pasha Grill, Smokin’ Bar-B-Que and Bernstein’s Catering. Music will be provided by the Boxcar Suite, Dayton Jewish Chorale and the Miami Valley Music Men.
Location: Temple Israel, 130 Riverside Drive, Dayton
Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
More info: 937-496-0500 or www.tidayton.org
5. YELLOW SPRINGS STREET FAIR
Date: Saturday, June 11
What’s the story? Twice a year, the main thoroughfares in Yellow Springs are blocked off for Street Fair, which offers shopping at more than 250 vendors and 65 shops and restaurants. The spring installment of the twice-yearly event also features a Music & Beer Festival. Performers include Crazy Joe & the Mad River Outlaws, Speaking Suns, Jonny Dreads & the Mystiks and Gin-Soaked Angels. Offsite parking with free shuttle service is available at Yellow Springs High School and Young’s Jersey Dairy.
Location: Downtown Yellow Springs
Hours: Street Fair from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., fest from noon to 7 p.m.
More info: 937-767-2686 or www.yellowspringsohio.org.
6. VECTREN DAYTON AIR SHOW
Date: Saturday and Sunday, June 18 and 19
What’s the story? Dayton is known as the Birthplace of Flight so it’s not surprising one of the region’s signature events celebrates that history. Since 1975, this annual show has featured world-class aerobatic champions, military jets, live music and more. This year’s featured performers include the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, the U.S. Marine Corps C-130 “Fat Albert,” U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor and P-51D Mustang “Baby Duck.”
Location: Dayton International Airport, 3800 Wright Drive, Vandalia
Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. with featured shows from noon to 4 p.m.
Cost: $25 adults, $16 youth 6-11 and seniors 60 and older
More info: 937-898-5901 or www.daytonairshow.com
7. LIGHTS IN FLIGHT FESTIVAL
Date: Sunday, July 3
What’s the story? Community fireworks displays are common this time of year but there is only one in the area where people can sit alongside the Great Miami River and watch the show in the sky above downtown Dayton. The Lights in Flight Festival, the annual Independence Day celebration, features music, food and beer sales and, naturally, an evening-capping fireworks show at dusk.
Location: RiverScape MetroPark, 101 E. Monument Ave., Dayton
Hours: 1 to 10 p.m.
More info: 937-333-8400 or www.downtowndayton.org
8. DAYTON CELTIC FESTIVAL
Date: Friday through Sunday, July 29-31
What’s the story? Music is always the big draw when the United Irish of Dayton presents its annual two-day celebration. This year is no exception with sets by returning headliners Gaelic Storm, Socks in the Frying Pan, Scythian and We Banjo 3. First timers Goitse and Screaming Orphans will also perform. Dayton Celtic Festival also features vendors, food, beer, children’s activities and Sunday Mass.
Location: RiverScape MetroPark, 101 E. Monument Ave., Dayton
Hours: 5:30 to 11 p.m. Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday
More info: 937-372-9788 or www.daytoncelticfestival.com
9. FESTIVAL OF THE VINE
Date: Saturday, Aug. 20
What’s the story? The annual event is both a fine wine tasting and cool jazz concert and it’s just one of the many great festivals held at Fraze Pavilion. This event also has a free component with performances by Mike Wade Quartet and Fo/Mo/Deep beginning at 3 p.m. and a paid concert at 7 p.m. with the Rippingtons and special guests Jonathan Fritzen and Vincent Ingala.
Location: Fraze Pavilion, 695 Lincoln Park Blvd., Kettering.
Hours: 3 p.m.
Cost: $25 lawn and terrace, $30 orchestra.
More info: 937-296-3300 or www.fraze.com.
Date: Saturday, Aug. 27
What’s the story? This craft beer event has been held in several different locations over the past 18 years. However, the organizers have never changed the focus, which is to give Daytonians a chance to sample some of the latest offerings from some of the nation’s leading brewers. One difference in recent years is the rise in entries from local brewers so attendees can see how local producers like Dayton Beer Company and Warped Wing stacks up against the competition.
Location: Dave Hall Plaza Park, Main and Fourth streets, Dayton
Hours: 3 to 6 p.m.
Cost: $35 general admission, $50 VIP
More info: www.alefest.com
11. OHIO RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL
Date: Sept. 3-Oct. 23
What’s the story? Visitors can get a taste of 16th century living on a 30-acre English village populated by costumed maidens, jousting knights, roaming minstrels, trained artisans, dueling swordsmen and other period-appropriate performers. Ohio Renaissance Festival, which runs Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 23, also features a shopping bazaar, food vendors, games and carnival rides.
Location: 10542 E. State Route 73, Waynesville
Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays
Cost: $18.95 for adults, $8.95 children ages 5-12. Season passes $79.95
More info: 513-897-7000 or www.renfestival.com
12. GREEK FESTIVAL
Date: Friday through Sunday, Sept. 9-11
What’s the story? Dayton Greek Festival is one of the longest running cultural celebrations in downtown Dayton. The 58th annual event features Greek food, music, dancing, shopping and more. The festival begins at 11 a.m. Friday with free admission until 5 p.m. so you can come out, beat the rush and grab a gyro for lunch. Street parking is available but the spots fill up fast. Free parking and shuttle service is available at Grandview Hospital.
Location: Annunciation Greek Orthodox, 500 Belmonte Park North, Dayton
Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday
Cost: Free Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. $2 the rest of the weekend. Free for children 12 and younger
More info: 937-224-0601 or www.daytongreekfestival.com