Still making weekend plans? Here are a few ideas

A celebration of chocolate and a weekend potato party

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

1) DPO salutes pandemic heroes

Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra pays tribute to first responders, medical personnel, delivery drivers and other essential workers of the pandemic in “Beethoven’s Eroica: A Salute to Heroes.” The Masterworks Series concerts, at the Schuster Center, Second and Main streets, Dayton, on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 1 and 2, launch the DPO’s 2021-2022 season presented by Dayton Performing Arts Alliance.



For his return performance with the orchestra, guest violinist Philippe Quint will step into the spotlight on Felix Mendelssohn’s “Violin Concerto in E minor.” The program also features “Heldenleben 2020,” a new piece by local composer Austin Jaquith. It was a national semi-finalist for the 2021 American Prize in Composition-Orchestra.

Cost: $14 through $68. DPO’s SuperPops Series opens its 2021-2022 programming with “The Rat Pack, Symphonic!” on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 15 and 16. Cost: $26 to $85. Music begins at 8 p.m. each night. Call 937-228-3630 or visit

2) Chocolate Fest

More than 10,000 people attended Faith & Friends Radio’s annual Chocolate Festival in 2019. Like many events, it was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19 but it is back for 2021. “Star-Spangled Chocolate” is the theme of the 18th annual fall fundraiser, which returns to Montgomery County Fairgrounds, 645 Infirmary Road, Jefferson Twp., on Saturday, Oct. 2. The festival, which runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., features chocolatiers, vendors, food trucks and live entertainment from contemporary Christian artist Nancy Honeytree and Joshua Jazz. Cost: Free. Call 937-233-2484 or visit

3) Dwight Yoakam

While he was born in Kentucky and started his career in Los Angeles in the 1980s, Dwight Yoakam spent his formative years in Columbus. Since his debut album in 1986, he has put out more than 20 releases and had roles in dozens of films. He appears alongside Clint Eastwood in the actor-director’s new film, “Cry Macho.” Yoakam, who recently returned to the road, performs at Hobart Arena, 255 Adams St., Troy, at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 7. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Cost: $37, $57 and $77. Call 937-339-2911 or visit

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

4) German Club Oktoberfest

Early autumn is Oktoberfest season so it’s only fitting the German Club of Dayton, the city’s oldest German organization, is the host of one of the area’s most popular celebrations. Dayton Liederkranz-Turner, 1400 E. Fifth St., Dayton, is the site of the annual Oktoberfest, which is presented from 5-11 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2. The club’s signature fall party features German food, beverages and live German music and is open to all residents regardless of their ancestral background. Lederhosen is not required but is encouraged for those so inclined. Cost: $5. Free for Dayton German Club members with card, military and students with ID. Call 937-223-9013 or visit

5) Jupiter String Quartet

For two decades, Jupiter String Quartet has performed for adoring crowds and received prestigious awards, while also continuing to nurture new generations of classical musicians. University of Dayton’s ArtsLIVE season 2021-2022 presents the chamber music ensemble in UD’s Sears Recital Hall, Jesse Philips Humanities Center, 300 College Park, Dayton, at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 3. Cost: Free for UD students, $18 general admission, $15 seniors 60 and older and UD alumni, $10 UD employees and retirees, $5 youth and students younger than 21. Call 937-229-2545 or visit

6) Black Box

After being shut down for more than 18 months, Black Box Improv Theater, 518 E. Third St., Dayton, is back. The company’s newly expanded ownership group is marking the return with weekend shows with a grand reopening on Friday, Oct. 1. (Note: Friday’s show is sold out.) Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Shows are presented at 8 and 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and each one has a different theme. Masks must be worn at all times. Proof of full vaccination or 48-hour negative COVID tests are required to enter. Cost: $15 per night and includes admission to the 8 and 9 p.m. shows. Black Box Improv Theater is currently open Friday and Saturday nights. While it is subject to change, the owners plan to expand the schedule to Wednesday through Saturday. Visit

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

7) Potato Festival

The Tater-Trot Run/Walk and potato putt-putt are just some of the spud-themed activities on tap for the Spring Valley Potato Festival, which returns to East Main Street in Spring Valley on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 2 and 3. Attendees can indulge in standard potato fare like chips and soup and also explore more unique recipes for candy and cookies. The 44th annual event also features a farmers market, craft vendors, games and children’s activities. Festival hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Cost: Free. Visit


There are few ensembles in the area more closely associated with the sounds of the golden age of big band music than the Tom Daugherty Orchestra. For years, the trombone-playing band leader has been promoting the songs from that era with a variety of specialty shows. Miami Valley Community Concert Association presents the orchestra in Big Band Legends in the Centerville Performing Arts Center at Centerville High School, 500 E. Franklin St., Centerville, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 6. Next up in the series is Blue Suede Shoes Elvis Bash on Monday, Oct. 18. Cost: Individual concert tickets are $35 adults, $5 students. Season tickets are available. Visit

9) Centerville Fall Fest

The City of Centerville and Heart of Centerville co-present the Centerville Fall Festival at Stubbs Park, 255 W. Spring Valley Pike, Centerville, on Sunday, Oct. 3. The outdoor family event features a petting zoo, interactive inflatables, food trucks, free pumpkin decorating for kids and beer from Loose Ends Brewing for the adults. Live music presented by bluegrass band Tony Hale and Blackwater, alternative folk act the Milos and a cappella group Forte. Festival hours are 2-6 p.m. Visit

10) Steven Adler

Steven Adler made his name as the original drummer for Guns N’ Roses. He appeared on the group’s landmark 1987 debut, “Appetite for Destruction,” but was replaced by Matt Sorum three years later. He has continued to perform, most recently leading his own band. After having spring 2020 dates, cancelled the hard rocker and his band return to performing in July. Adler bring the crew back to the area to perform with special guests Liliac at BMI Speedway, 791 E. Main St., Versailles, at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2. Doors open at 5 p.m. Cost: $25 in advance, $35 at the door. VIP package available for an additional $50. Call 937-526-9547 or visit

Contact this contributing writer at 937-287-6139 or e-mail at

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