Grande Illumination, Children’s Parade kick off holiday season

Golden anniversary celebration slated Friday at Courthouse Square.

The 50th anniversary of the Dayton Holiday Festival will kick off the holiday season Friday, Nov. 25 at Courthouse Square and surrounding areas.

The festival brings the return of long-standing favorite activities and events, as well as some new additions. Mrs. Virginia Kettering hosted the first free festival in 1972 to ensure all children and families in the community could create lasting holiday memories.

“The Dayton Holiday Festival has been a downtown tradition for decades, and we’re honored to help celebrate its golden anniversary,” said Sandra K. Gudorf, president of the Downtown Dayton Partnership. “This event brings people together year after year and is a wonderful way for families to get into the holiday spirit. We’ve added some special touches this year to mark what this magical event means to the downtown community.”

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

The Grande Illumination and Dayton Children’s Parade Spectacular in Lights will be held Friday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Those unable to attend in person can enjoy the holiday kickoff by tuning in to WHIO-TV at 7:30 p.m. on Friday to watch the Grande Illumination TV special and tree lighting. The tree lighting ceremony will take place at 7:55 p.m.

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In addition, enjoy live entertainment on the Courthouse Square stage. Performances begin around 4 p.m.

The schedule is as follows:

4:00-4:25 p.m. – Trulee Dominique

4:30-4:55 p.m. – Stivers Concert Choir

5:05-5:30 p.m. – Berachah Valley

5:40-6:05 p.m. – Tori Adams

6:15-6:40 p.m. – Gwen Brown

6:50-7:15 p.m. – Todd the Fox

7:25-7:50 p.m. – Dayton Celebration Chorus

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Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Additional activities include:

The Holiday Village ― Located inside Stratacache Tower from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., this is a favorite stop for children, featuring free activities for kids and Mrs. Virginia Kettering’s train on display.

Horse-Drawn Wagon Rides ― From 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., wagons will pick up passengers near the corner of Second and Main Streets for a ride through downtown. Rides are $1 per person suggested donation. Lines can be long, so come early.

Gingerbread Homes for the Holidays ― View all the delicious contest entries and the award-winning houses, and vote for your favorite, located inside the old Montgomery County courthouse.

The Holiday Village ― Located inside Stratacache Tower from 4 to 9 p.m., this is a favorite stop for children, featuring free activities for kids and Mrs. Virginia Kettering’s train on display.

Rike’s Holiday Windows – Located inside the Schuster Center Wintergarden, experience a reimagining of the Rike’s department store holiday window displays that once stood at this busy downtown corner.

Street Fair on Third ― At this holiday street fair, free rides and other activities will be set up on Third Street between Main and Ludlow Streets.

Horse-Drawn Wagon Rides ― From 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., wagons will pick up passengers near the corner of Second and Main streets for a ride through downtown. Rides are $1 per person suggested donation. Lines can be long, so come early.

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Junior League of Dayton’s Holiday Adventure - Kids will go on an adventure around the festival footprint, presented by the Junior League of Dayton. Children who visit all the stops will receive a free book.

Downtown Jingle Lights – See East Monument Avenue and Main Street transformed into an interactive, drive-thru light show, choreographed to the beat of your favorite holiday tunes! Tune your radio to 97.1 FM as you drive the route Nov. 25-Jan. 1.

Memory Lane on Main – This collection of historical photographs and memories will be on display in windows along Main Street between Monument Avenue and Fourth Street from Nov. 25 to Jan. 1.

Ongoing activities are planning throughout the month of December as part of the Dayton Holiday Festival. Visit downtowndayton.org for a full list of events.

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