Dayton skyline from Deeds Point. 
Photo: Jim Witmer / Staff
Photo: Jim Witmer / Staff

100 reasons we are thankful for Dayton

Dayton, we thank you.

The Thanksgiving holiday is the perfect time to pause and express gratitude for our community and for the people and places we love.

It’s been a year filled with tragedy and heartbreak.

But through the pain, we can still find many reasons to smile. 

We are grateful to be a part of a community with such a storied past, present and future. And we are especially  grateful to be part of a community that has demonstrated its resilience time and time again. In good times and bad times, Daytonians come together and support each other.

Today, we celebrate the little things that make Dayton so great every single day, and the people who became heroes and bright lights in the darkness.

Here are 100 things we are thankful for every day, week, month and year — but especially in 2019.

1. The Dayton officers who saved countless lives on Aug. 4, 2019: Sgt. William C. Knight, Officer Brian Rolfes, Officer Jeremy Campbell, Officer Vincent Carter, Officer Ryan Nabel, Officer David Denlinger. Thank you just isn’t enough.

2. Jeremy Ganger, the brave bouncer at Ned Pepper’s who also is credited with saving lives during the Oregon District mass shooting. You are a true hero, Jeremy.

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3. Dayton Detective Jorge Del Rio, who tragically lost his life in the line of duty. Forever in our hearts.

4. Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl, the first responders, elected officials, the Dayton Foundation, the American Red Cross, The Community Blood Center and the countless businesses and non-profit organizations that immediately jumped into action after tragedies to help the community unite, raise needed funds and begin to heal.

Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl is hugged by Andrea Raizen, a resident of the Oregon District, during National Night Out events Tuesday in the Oregon District. Dayton officers shot and killed a gunman early Sunday less than one minute after he opened fire in the Dayton entertainment district. The shooter killed nine people before officers shot him to death.

5. Dayton’s everyday “helpers.” These are the people and volunteers who stepped up after the tornadoes and the shooting and poured their hearts into helping their neighbors in big ways and small ways. 

>> 100+ Daytonians of the Week: A shoutout to Daytonians who did something when the city needed them

6. People like Dion Green, who lost his father in the Oregon District shooting, and Mike Turner, who lost his son in the same horrific event, but who both have honored their loved ones through acts of kindness and compassion.

7. Dave Chappelle, who brought in a few friends(!) to help Dayton shine again after the darkness with Gem City Shine.

>>PHOTOS: Gem City Shine

8. John Legend, for a surprise visit to Dayton’s Oregon District one week after the tragic shooting to boost spirits and advocate for change.

John Legend made a surprise visit to the Oregon District Sunday evening with Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley to show support in the aftermath of the mass shooting Sunday, Aug. 4. He stopped by a number of stores to shop including Heart Mercantile, Brim on Fifth, Puff Apothecary and Beck + Call. AMELIA ROBINSON / STAFF
Photo: Amelia Robinson

9. The women of Heart Mercantile in the Oregon District, who channeled their grief into raising thousands and thousands of dollars through T-shirt sales.

10. The restaurants, stores, bars, staff and patrons of the Oregon District, who are truly #DaytonStrong.

11. The survivors of the Memorial Day tornadoes.

12. Every single volunteer who donated food, water or supplies and helped clean up debris after the tornadoes.

Volunteers from Shiloh Church work Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019, to help Jessica Brady’s house in Harrison Twp. The rebuilding project is the first tornado-damaged home to be repaired through a partnership of non-profit organizations formed following the Memorial Day natural disaster. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF
Photo: Staff Writer

13. Every law enforcement officer and city worker and volunteer who worked to keep this community safe on the day of the KKK rally. 

14. Dayton’s never-ending spirit of innovation. From legends of the past, to companies of the future, Dayton shines.

15. The world-famous Wright Brothers and being the true birthplace of aviation.

16. Famous inventions, from the cash register to the electric automobile starter to the pop-top can to Cheez-its

[Staff Photo Allegra Czerwinski/ NCR cash registers at Dayton History]
Photo: Allegra Czerwinski

17. Dayton’s amazing arts scene, artists, performers, arts supporters and venues who take pride in collaboration and trying new approaches.

18. The Dayton Dragons, Heater and Gem. There is just something special about baseball in Dayton.

19. Dayton beer. Dayton breweries, Dayton brews, the Dayton beer trail. We simply cannot get enough 

20. The Pink Ribbon Girls. What an incredible group of people who are making a difference for the lives of cancer patients in Dayton and nationally.

21. A peaceful walk through Glen Helen and John Bryan State Park

22. Legendary Christmas Lights at Historic Clifton Mill, Woodland Lights and A Carillon Christmas.

The historic Clifton mill, built in 1802 and still working, opened its Legendary Lights for the 2018 holiday season on Friday, Nov. 23. You can see Clifton Mill featured on ABC TV’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight” from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday, Dec. 3. TOM GILLIAM / CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER
Photo: Tom Gilliam

23. 2nd Street Market

24. Festivals. We have some of the best festivals around celebrating strawberries, Celtic heritage, Greek food, beer and even sauerkraut.

25. Wu-Tang Wednesdays at The Barrel House

26. Esther Price Candies and its boxes of chocolates, Dayton Strong Bars and golden tickets.

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27. Orv and Willa, the Carillon Park resident bald eagles and their offspring Prairie and Aero.

Aero and Prairie, photographed in June 24,2019 by Jim Weller, the founder of Eastwood Eagle watchers, in their nest at Carillon Historical Park. One of the eaglets, believed to be Aero, took its first flight Wednesday June 26. The sibling is expected to follow at any time. PHOTO COURTESY OF JIM WELLER

28. Cronuts, sand tarts and butterscotch rolls from Ashley’s Pastry Shop.

29. Paul Laurence Dunbar

30. 70 years of Dorothy Lane Market and its Killer Brownies.

31. Hawthorne Heights, Guided by Voices and The Breeders

32. The Artemis Center

33. The Pine Club’s bone-in ribeye

The Pine Club, 1926 Brown St. in Dayton, has been sold to new ownership, but that ownership has requested to remain anonymous and has indicated it wants to be “completely passive with no role in operations,” former owner David Hulme says. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Photo: Ty Greenlees

35. The Dayton Contemporary Dance Company

36. Dayton Flyers basketball

37. A century worth of love for the Dayton Art Institute

38. Being the official Land of Funk.

39. Link Dayton Bike Share

40. Dayton’s resilience and ability to come together to find solutions

41. The Dayton Peace Accords, Dayton International Peace Museum and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize

42. Brunch in the Oregon District

43. Levitt Pavilion and FREE summer entertainment

44. The Bad Juan from Elsa’s

An assortment of Elsa’s legendary Bad Juan margaritas. TY GREENLEES/STAFF
Photo: Contributing Writer

45. The Rubi Girls

46. Oktoberfest celebrations big and small

47. Heart Mercantile’s signs

48. The Dayton Inspires selfie wall

49. Five Rivers MetroParks

50. The Dayton Foodbank and House of Bread.

51. Community murals crafted by some of Dayton’s best artists

Tiffany Clark, founder of the Mural Machine, is creating a new mural at the entrance of the Oregon District in Dayton. The mural, created with brush and spray paint in 20 colors, depicts a woman at the center. LISA POWELL / STAFF

52. The old Rike’s windows that decorate the Schuster Center lobby every holiday season.

53. RiverScape River Run

54. The Dayton Region Walk of Fame

55. Donuts. Whether they’re from Bill, Stan or Jim

3-year-old Amelia Cordonnier checks out the donut case at Stan the Donut Man in Dayton on Friday, which was National Donut Day.
Photo: Marshall Gorby

56. UD, Wright State, Sinclair, Wilberforce, Central State, Cedarville, Antioch

57. Downtown Dayton Metro Library and all of its branches.

58. First Fridays downtown

59. The U.S. Air Force Museum and the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery

60. The Oregon District. Shopping, dining, drinking and fun events.

Dayton-area residents participated in a Dayton Strong Bar Crawl and Scavenger Hunt, hosted by Gem City Social Sports, on Saturday, Nov. 2 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Part of the proceeds from the event will be donated to the Dayton Oregon District Tragedy Fund established by the Dayton Foundation. TOM GILLIAM / CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER
Photo: Tom Gilliam

61. Wright-Patterson Air Force Base

62. Foy’s, where every day is Halloween.

63. Victoria Theatre, Schuster Center and the new Arts Annex

64. Dayton chefs and Dayton restaurants

65. Square-cut pizza

One of Marion's Piazza's pepperoni pizzas is cut into the iconic squares.
Photo: Lisa Powell

66. Chocolate-covered potato chipsMikesells and Esther Price are a winning combination any day of the year.

67. Dayton is within an 8 hour or less drive of at least 10 “major cities.”

68. St. Patrick’s Day is at The Dublin Pub and Flanagan’s Pub


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70. Deeds Carillon and the many local treasures at Carillon Historical Park

The Deeds Carillon at Carillon Historical Park. CONTRIBUTED

71. Dayton Children’s Hospital

72. Huffy bike company

73. The Dayton Air Show

74. Dayton Ballet’s Nutcracker

75. The U.S. Air Force Marathon

Scenes from the finish line at the Air Force Marathon on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Fairborn. David Jablonski/Staff
Photo: David Jablonski - Staff Writer

76. The Neon Movies, The Little Art Theatre and The Plaza Theatre

77. The Little Exchange

78. Small businesses can make it here

79. 4 Paws service dogs

The Xenia, Ohio non-profit was highlighted in the pilot episode of the new Netflix series, 'DOGS'. The approximately 50-minute “docuseries” episode followed a 12-year-old from West Chester, Corrine Gogolewski, and her family through their journey with 4 Paws for Ability. Gogolewski struggles through the everyday obstacles of living with epilepsy. That’s when Rory the service dog comes in and changes the family’s life.
Photo: 4 Paws For Ability

80. Welcome Dayton

81. The Dayton LGBT Center

82.  Our code-breakers helped defeat the Nazis in World War II

83. Woodland Cemetery and its breathtaking view of the city

The Lookout Columbarium and Plaza at Woodland Cemetery, which overlooks the city of Dayton and the Miami Valley, was dedicated in July, 2010. The nearly 200 acre cemetery was founded in 1841 and is the final resting place for more than 108,000 people. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Photo: Staff Writer

84. Yellow Cab Tavern

85. Summer concerts at Rose Music Center and The Fraze

86. Local coffee. Ghostlight, Press, Winan’s and more.

87. 40 years of tapas and paella at El Meson

88. Art Ball

89. Young’s Jersey Dairy ice cream and family fun

90. Stoddard Avenue Pumpkin Glow and the dedicated volunteers who make it happen.

91. Masquerage

Masquerage 2018 aka Dayton's "Party of Parties" was held this weekend on Friday, Oct. 26 at 111 E. Fifth St., the former site of the Dayton Greyhound Bus Station at Gilly’s. This year's theme was Rio Nights — inspired by the week-long Carnival festival held annually in Rio de Janeiro. Masquerage is Equitas Health’s annual fundraiser which helps to raise awareness and critical funds for HIV/AIDS medical care and treatment. TOM GILLIAM / CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER
Photo: Tom Gilliam

92. Wright State is home to the Tom Hanks Center of Motion Pictures

93. Hauntfest on Fifth

94. Fireworks along the Great Miami River

95. Edwin C. Moses and his Olympic gold

96. Tech Town

97. Dayton the Ohio Aerospace Hub

98. John H. Patterson

99. Captain Jonathan Dayton

100. Good, kind, giving Daytonians who work to make this a better place to live every single day.

Now it’s your turn! What would you add to this list?