Holly Days kicks off today at Dayton Arcade offering ‘magical experience’

Three-day event brings food, fun and shopping.

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

A holiday shopping experience featuring over 45 small businesses, food trucks, a cash bar, live entertainment and many more surprises is returning to the Dayton Arcade for the second year in a row.

“Holly Days at the Arcade Presented by Universal 1 Credit Union & AES Ohio” is a free event kicking off Tuesday, Dec. 6 and running through Thursday, Dec. 8 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. The event is organized by Cross Street Partners and Culture Works.

Bill Perry, director of development and marketing for Culture Works, described the event as a “magical experience.”

“There’s so much creative energy in the Dayton region,” Perry said. “Things that I would have never imagined seeing between the artwork, handmade goods, foods, drinks and even some of the entertaining designs I’ve seen with Legos. It’s really cool to see that these were all of our friends and neighbors.”

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

In addition to vendors in the Rotunda, The Contemporary Dayton (The Co) will have its Holiday Gift Gallery available focusing on multicultural artists, women creators and sustainable items.

On the first floor of the McCrory Building, The Hub Powered by PNC will host additional shopping from micro-businesses created by University of Dayton entrepreneurship students, a press release from Culture Works said.

Brixilated, St. Anne’s Cheese Company and several other vendors will be set up in the Tank event space

Brixilated, a boutique company that specializes in creating innovative ways to play with Lego, will host a community Lego Build in addition to its specialty sets available for purchase.

“We like to create Lego experiences that are personable,” said Adam Mullins, founder of Brixilated. “Things that you see everyday, we capture that in Lego.”

St. Anne’s Cheese Company is offering cheese chalets and wine and cheese pairing events throughout Holly Days. Tickets are required and can be purchased at www.stannescheeseco.com.

“Our goal at St. Anne’s Cheese is to change the world one nibble of cheese at a time,” said Owner Annie Foos. “We want people this year at Holly Days to elevate their cheese game.”

Foos said some of the best cheeses come out during the holiday season. One cheese she said she is excited to share with guests is a rare, bourbon smoked cheese.

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

While guests shop, they will be able to enjoy more than a dozen local entertainers and performers. Perry said guests can expect anything from traditional ballet performances to things they’ve have not seen before.

“We’ve been around since 1974 and our mission has changed slightly over the years, but our core is the same. It’s supporting that local art and culture,” Perry said. “It’s one of the reasons why we moved to the Dayton Arcade. It gives us this great intersection where culture and community can come together in one place.”

Holly Days was first featured in 1992 and 1993 by the City of Dayton. Holly Days was one of the last events held inside the Arcade before it shuttered. When renovations began in 2019, the construction crew removed holiday lights that still remained from the last Holly Days.

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

Mullins recalled coming to Holly Days as a kid and mentioned that his mother recently found a Santa Claus from their experience back in the day.

“It’s coming into an area of Dayton, spending time here and getting to know both the space and also the heritage and history behind it,” Mullins said. “It’s just a really neat way to connect the present to the past in a fun, enjoyable holiday experience.”

Mary Ann Kabel, director of corporate communications for AES Ohio said, “After the tree lighting and all of the events that happen downtown during the holiday season, this is one of those opportunities where it really kicks off the holiday season and you get to see people and vendors you wouldn’t normally see all in one location.”

AES Ohio is the lighting sponsor of the Dayton Arcade as well as a presenting sponsor with Universal 1 Credit Union of Holly Days.

“We’re proud to be a presenting sponsor for an event and a venue that has been a staple here in Dayton’s history,” said Sam McClain, marketing manager at Universal 1 Credit Union.

For more event information, a vendor list and entertainment schedule, visit arcadedayton.com or the Dayton Arcade’s social media pages.

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