The month-long Dayton Holiday Festival begins Nov. 29 with the Grande Illumination and Dayton Children’s Parade Spectacular in Lights from 4 to 9 p.m. on Courthouse Square, on the corner of Third and Main streets. The tree-lighting ceremony will start at 7:45 p.m. with the parade immediately following. Holiday events will continue into late December. This will be the 41st year for the holiday celebration.
On the Friday after Thanksgiving beginning at 4 p.m., an array of family-friendly activities will be available to enjoy all evening. Activities on Courthouse Square include live music on the Courthouse Square Main Stage, sponsored by Kroger, until 7:45 p.m. In the Old Courthouse, the Downtown Dayton Priority Board and B94.5 Hot Country‘s Gingerbread Homes for the Holidays Contest entries will be on display. Winners will be announced during the evening. Children can participate in the Junior League of Dayton’s Holiday Hunt by checking in at the Junior League booth. The scavenger hunt runs until 7 p.m.
Several other activities will take place near the Square. Children can create holiday crafts or “Dial-An-Elf” to share their wish list with one of Santa’s helpers at Time Warner Cable Media’s Holiday Village in the Kettering Tower. Carnival rides and games on Third Street, sponsored by Fifth Third Bank, will run all evening. Horse-drawn wagon rides will be offered through 7:30 p.m. Wagon rides are $1 per person, but all other activities are free.
The Tike’s Shoppe — sponsored by ABC 22/FOX 45, Victoria Theatre Association and the Oakwood Register and managed by YES! For Youth — will be located in the Schuster Center Wintergarden. This gift shop specifically designed for children will remain open through Dec. 23 on select days. Patrons also may view Rike’s animated holiday windows in the Wintergarden.
Capping off this festive night is the tree-lighting ceremony at 7:45 p.m. on Courthouse Square. Volunteers will pass out 3D glasses provided by CareSource. The Dayton Children’s Parade Spectacular in Lights will immediately follow the ceremony. More than 100,000 lights will illuminate the 45-minute parade, which will feature a variety of festive floats, entertainers, animals and several surprises. Miami-Jacobs Career College and MIX 107.7-FM are sponsoring the activities.
“The Grande Illumination and Dayton Children’s Parade Spectacular in Lights is a great night for the entire family to come downtown,” said Sandy Gudorf, president of the Downtown Dayton Partnership. “It is a magical night guaranteed to put you in the holiday spirit.”
The Dayton Holiday Festival continues throughout the month of December with such activities as the Family Movie Series at The Neon, Virginia Kettering’s Holiday Train Display and more.
The Dayton Holiday Festival is presented the Downtown Dayton Partnership, the City of Dayton, Montgomery County and the Mrs. Virginia W. Kettering Dayton Holiday Festival Fund. A complete list of festival events is available online, as well as a calendar of other downtown holiday events.
Volunteers are still needed for the Grande Illumination. Sign up online to volunteer.