The Christmas season has been a vital part of Deeds Carillon’s history. It was at an impromptu Christmas Eve concert, held just 17 days after the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941, when Deeds Carillon was first played for the Dayton community.
"When the Dayton community gathered at Deeds Carillon for the very first time, they heard Christmas music," said Dayton History president and CEO Brady Kress. The carillon's first scheduled concert was on Easter in 1942.
Relive the magic at the 65-acre Carillon Historical Park this winter. This festival of yore includes:
- Letters to Santa: Write (don't type) a letter to Santa at Dayton's first post office at the Newcom Tavern. Don't fear, the postmaster has Santa's North Pole address.
- Morris & Hetzel Bakery: Period-costumed bakers will sell homemade gingerbread cookies from an historical hearth oven. Hurry, before Santa snacks.
- Santa's Toy Shop: Take a complimentary photo with Santa at the Heritage Center, which features a collection of Dayton-made toys. Enter to win a Huffy bicycle while you're there. (Huffy has a long manufacturing history in Dayton.)
- Barnyard Puppets: Watch a puppet show on the Wright Brothers' first flight in the barn of the carillon's purveyors, Edward and Edith Deeds. Then, make your own finger puppets.
- Carillon Card Company: Create Christmas cards on a 1930s printing press — just like when Dayton was home to 77 printing companies and zero computers.
- Midnight Express: For just $1, you can board a train to the North Pole and be back by the park's closing time.
- Victorian Carolers: Victorian carolers will sing throughout the Park, as the carillon plays Christmas songs.
Admission is $5 for children, $7 for seniors, $8 for adults, and free for Dayton History members and children under age 3. The park is closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
The Tree of Light can be seen off I-75. It’s the largest carillon in Ohio and one of Dayton’s most-recognized landmarks.
“It is our hope that a Carillon Christmas will provide holiday cheer to the Dayton community for many years to come,” said Kress.