Street festival to celebrate legendary Daytonians

Walk the Walk event with food trucks, entertainment to honor the 2019 inductees into Dayton Region Walk of Fame

As of 2018, 176 individuals and groups have been honored by the Dayton Region’s Walk of Fame. That number will continue to grow this summer.

Four new inductees will be introduced at the Walk the Walk street festival on Friday, June 21. This celebration for the Dayton Region's Walk of Fame will begin at 6 p.m., and will feature food trucks, live entertainment from Eddie Brookshire and the Sinclair Jazz Combo, music from WDAO radio and a children's and family fun area.

The event highlights are the memorial stones that will be set in the sidewalks of Dayton’s historic Wright-Dunbar district for each of the honorees.

The Walk of Fame will also have an interactive component.

The Sparrow program from Pelican Technologies Inc. gives you the ability to scan a code to learn more information about the inductees. A contest will be held for those who want to use the new program, with prizes including a private ride for two people in a biplane at the WACO Air Museum in Troy, and VIP Suite Box Tickets to see Herbie Hancock or Air Supply at The Rose Music Center in Huber Heights.

With this program, you can also honor a past Walk of Fame inductee for $150.

We told you about this year's Walk of Fame inductees back in April, but here's a recap of who will be inducted this year:


Profiles submitted by the Dayton Region Walk of Fame

Jessie Gooding (1926-present)

One of the Dayton region’s foremost civil rights leaders, Jessie Gooding was born and raised in Minden, La. After serving in the segregated U. S. Army, he studied at Wilberforce University and became a chemist at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Witnessing and experiencing discrimination in the workplace, Gooding established equal employment opportunity and sensitivity training, which became mandatory in the Air Force in the 1960s. He also advocated for the Air Force to recruit top science and engineering students from historically black colleges and universities. Gooding is the longest serving president of the Dayton chapter of the NAACP (1982-2002.) Under his leadership the Dayton NAACP increased voter registration and pressed for reforms to end discrimination in education, employment, housing and law enforcement. He is co-author with Rosalind Vera Osinubi of “Freedom and Justice for All: My Life and Dayton Civil Rights History.”

John Gower (1953-present)

Credit: Andy Snow

Credit: Andy Snow

John Gower is a life-long Dayton resident who has devoted his career as an urban planner to preserving Dayton’s history and making it a great place to live. His advocacy for Dayton began as a student at the University of Cincinnati’s School of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning, when he volunteered weekends in Dayton to board up abandoned homes in his Dayton View neighborhood. He has worked as Dayton’s downtown planner, director of community development, urban design coordinator, and most recently as reimaging strategist. The Living City Project he led has been called a catalyst for revitalizing downtown housing. He led architectural preservation efforts that resulted in the city’s Historic District Zoning and Landmarks Commission. His preservation advocacy continues even in retirement. He has been a leading advocate for restoring the downtown Dayton Arcade.

Betsy and Lee Whitney (1930-present, 1930-2018)

Credit: Robert Robbins

Credit: Robert Robbins

Betsy and Lee Whitney have been exemplary leaders in arts, social services, history and business organizations. Born in Yellow Springs, Betsy Baldwin met Leon “Lee” Whitney in college at Ohio Wesleyan. They married in 1953. Lee joined his father-in-law’s insurance company, which grew to become Baldwin and Whitney with Lee Whitney as president. The Whitneys have been generous with their talents and resources. A past president and board chair of the YWCA, Betsy served on boards and/or fundraising committees for the Dayton Art Institute, Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, Dayton Visual Arts Center, Human Race Theater Company, Victoria Theatre Association, Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, Dayton History, Leadership Dayton, Dayton Foundation and Wright-Dunbar Inc. Lee served as president of Dayton Children’s, Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, Downtown Dayton Partnership and the YMCA, and as a board member of the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance, United Theological Seminary, and Westminster Church. Through his countless volunteer hours at Carillon Historical Park, he saw the need for a picnic shelter for schoolchildren. The Whitney Pavilion there now proudly serves visitors of all ages.

Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (1968-present)

Credit: Jeff Sabo

Credit: Jeff Sabo

Nationally and internationally acclaimed local group on the dance stage and in film, DCDC has been a recognized cultural amenity in the Dayton arts scene for over 50 years. Few individuals or arts organizations in the region have represented Dayton on a larger scale. DCDC represents the Dayton region around the world. In this decade it has toured in Chili, China, Russia and Kazakhstan. PBS featured DCDC in the 2007 documentary “Dance in America: Dancing in the Light.” The film documentary “Sparkle,” which featured DCDC dancer Sheri “Sparkle Williams,” was selected to screen at Silverdocs, America’s largest and most prestigious documentary film festival in 2012. The 2016 Bessie for Outstanding Revival was presented to Rainbow ‘Round my Shoulder performed by DCDC at the David H. Koch Theater in New York. DCDC was founded by Jeraldyne Blunden (1940-1999,) who was inducted in the Walk of Fame as an individual in 1999.


WHAT: Walk the Walk Street Festival and 2019 Dayton Region Walk of Fame

WHEN: Friday, June 21, 6-9 p.m.

WHERE: The sidewalks along West Third Street between Shannon and Broadway streets in the historic Wright-Dunbar Business District

INFO: Website

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