dayton holiday festival
Celebrate the season in Your Downtown
The Dayton Holiday Festival, presented by DP&L, is your source for family-friendly holiday fun in downtown Dayton. Started by Mrs. Virginia Kettering 45 years ago so that all children could enjoy the holiday season regardless of their economic means, the Festival continues today with free attractions for the community.
Each year the festival kicks off Thanksgiving weekend with the Grande Illumination and the Dayton Children’s Parade. The fun continues throughout the month of December with activities like the Tike’s Shoppe, a family movie series at The Neon, pizza with Santa, and more! Mark your calendars for this year's activities:
Kick off the Dayton Holiday Festival
Friday, November 24, 4-9 p.m. with:
The Grande Illumination tree lighting
Presented by DP&L
Friday, November 24, 7:45 p.m.
Courthouse Square, Third & Main sts.
Watch the holidays light up during Dayton's traditional tree lighting. At 7:45, we'll throw the switch and approximately 100,000 colored lights will brighten the three-story-tall tree on Courthouse Square. Bill Nance & Melody Morris from FaithAndFriendsRadio.Com will do a live broadcast at the Old Courthouse from 5 to 8 p.m., followed by live announcing of the parade. Media sponsor: Big 106.5 FM.
The Dayton Children's Parade Spectacular in Lights
Friday, November 24, Approximately 8 p.m.
Along Second, Main & Fourth sts.
Immediately following the tree lighting, the Children's Parade will round the corner of Second and Main streets to start its route through downtown, sparkling with more than 100,000 lights! Watch decorative seasonal floats, horses, drill teams and bands, and some special holiday treats.
Friday, November 24, 4-9 p.m.
Courthouse Square, Third & Main sts.
Come meet our North Pole ambassadors! Two of Santa's reindeer will be available to meet on Courthouse Square. Don't miss your chance to take your picture on Santa's sleigh! Sponsored by DP&L.
For a fun and special added touch, we'll be handing out free "magic glasses," courtesy of CareSource. Grab a pair on Courthouse Square before watching the tree lighting and parade to see the holiday lights in a whole new way!
But the tree lighting and parade aren't the only highlights that night! A full evening of fun holiday entertainment and activities is planned from 4 to 9 p.m., including:
Live Main Stage Entertainment
We have plenty of entertainment on the Courthouse Square Main Stage leading up to the lighting ceremony. Here's the lineup:
4:00-4:20 p.m. – Miami Valley Music Men
4:40-5:00 p.m. – Deron Bell Band
5:10-5:30 p.m. – Berachah Valley
5:40-6:05 p.m. – Dayton Gay Men's Chorus
6:20-6:55 p.m. – Alexis Gomez Trio
7:10-7:45 p.m. – Dayton Celebration Chorus
Gingerbread Homes for the Holidays Contest
Old Court House, Third & Main sts.; 4-9 p.m.
View all of the delicious contest entries and the award-winning houses. Best in show from each category will receive $500! Media sponsor B94.5 FM. Download an Entry Form.
Kettering Tower lobby, southeast corner of Second and Main streets; 4-9 p.m.
Visit a magical fantasy village featuring free crafts, games, live holiday music, and lots of other surprises for kids. The Holiday Village is sponsored by Spectrum Reach, with games and crafts sponsored by Hollywood Gaming - Dayton Raceway.
Junior League of Dayton's Holiday Adventure
Courthouse Square; 4-8 p.m.
Kids will go on an adventure around the festival footprint. Children who visit all of the stops will receive a free book. Sponsored by McAfee Heating and Air Conditioning.
Street Fair on Third
Third Street between Main and Ludlow; 4-9 p.m.
Blinking lights and whirring sounds are just a small part of the wonder you'll find at the Street Fair on Third. Enjoy free carnival rides for kids throughout the evening! Street Fair on Third is sponsored by Fifth Third Bank.
Horse-drawn Wagon Rides
Second & Main, in front of the Premier Health Center; 4-7:30 p.m.
Enjoy a wagon ride through downtown! Plan to come early, as the rides are very popular and lines can be long. (Please note that in order to ensure everyone in line will get a ride, it is often necessary to close the line earlier than the scheduled end time.) $1 per person.
The holiday fun continues through December with
Family Weekends & Other Activities
presented by DP&L, including:
NEW! Ride the Sugarplum Shuttle
Friday and Saturday Evenings in December, 6-8 p.m.
Oregon District and Downtown between RiverScape & Schuster Center
For a fun and festive way to get around downtown, hop on the free Sugarplum Shuttle! Downtown pedal wagons will deck their hauls with holiday music, lights, and more, and run routes through the Oregon District and between RiverScape and the Schuster Center downtown. Sponsored by PNC.
Sugarplum Shuttle Schedule (subject to change):
- Dec. 1: Oregon District only
- Dec. 2: RiverScape-Schuster; Oregon District
- Dec. 8: RiverScape-Schuster; Oregon District
- Dec. 9: Oregon District only
- Dec. 15: RiverScape-Schuster; Oregon District
- Dec. 16: Oregon District only
- Dec. 22: RiverScape-Schuster; Oregon Disctrict
- Dec. 23: RiverScape-Schuster; Oregon District
The Tike's Shoppe
November 24-December 23
Schuster Center Wintergarden, Second & Ludlow
A special shop run by kids for kids - and priced within a kid's budget! Also, visit Santa during special hours. The Tike's Shoppe is managed by YES! for Youth. Additional support from: ABC 22/FOX 45 and the Victoria Theatre Association. 301-8349. Visit during these hours:
- Nov. 24 - 3-9 p.m. (Santa 4-7:45 p.m.)
- Nov. 25 - 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (Santa 2-5 p.m.)
- Nov. 26 - noon-6 p.m. (Santa 2-5 p.m.)
- Dec. 1 - CLOSED
- Dec. 2 - 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (Santa 2-4 p.m.)
- Dec. 3 - noon-6 p.m. (Santa 2-5 p.m.)
- Dec. 8 - 2-6 p.m. (Santa 2-5 p.m.)
- Dec. 9 - 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (Santa 2-5 p.m.)
- Dec. 10 - noon-6 p.m. (Santa 2-5 p.m.)
- Dec. 11-14 - CLOSED
- Dec. 15 - 2-7 p.m. (Santa 2-5 p.m.)
- Dec. 16 - 10 a.m.-7 p.m. (Santa 2-5 p.m.)
- Dec. 17 - noon-6 p.m. (Santa 2-5 p.m.)
- Dec. 18 - CLOSED
- Dec. 19-22 - noon-7 p.m. (Santa 2-5 p.m.)
- Dec. 23 - 10 a.m.-7 p.m. (Santa 2-5 p.m.)
November 24-December 31; Mon.-Fri.: 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat.: noon-4 p.m.; closed on non-performance Sundays
Schuster Center Wintergarden, Second & Main sts.
Come see one of the area's longest-running holiday traditions -- the magical Rike's department store holiday window displays! Experience the wonder of the animated elves, woodland animals, violinists and skaters right at the corner of Second and Main streets in downtown Dayton, where these displays delighted people beginning more than 70 years ago. (Not accessible during private events. Call to confirm hours.) 228-7591.
Virginia Kettering's Holiday Train Display
November 24-January 2; Mon.-Fri. 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Kettering Tower lobby, corner of Second & Main sts.
Visitors of all ages can view this beloved, one-of-a-kind model train display that was given to the community by Mrs. Virginia Kettering. The display can also be viewed through the building windows at Second and Main anytime. 224-1518.
Uno's Pizza with Santa
December 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, & 17; 11 a.m.
Uno Pizzeria & Grill, 126 N. Main St.
Have a special lunch with Santa and then visit the Tike's Shoppe at the Schuster Center! Reservations required. Call for cost and reservations. 910-8000.
Family Movie Series
December 2, 9, & 16; noon
The Neon, 130 E. Fifth St.
Bring the family for fun, festive films. Titles subject to change, call the theater for confirmation. Free admission for kids 12 and under, $2 for adults. Media sponsor: Mix 107.7. 222-7469. Scheduled films:
- December 2 - Prancer
- December 9 - Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
- December 17 - Home Alone
December 5-15 weekdays
Various downtown buildings
Downtown's buildings are ringing with the sound of music this holiday season. Groups from throughout the Miami Valley are performing a mix of holiday selections during the 2017 Dayton Holiday Festival's Noontime Entertainment Program. Starting at 12 noon, performing groups will present their holiday selections as lunchtime entertainment in selected building lobbies. Take a break from your chaotic schedule to get in the holiday spirit and enjoy the carols and instrumental sounds. Each musical group has a unique way to bring in the holiday season and entertain you with an upbeat performance you're sure to love.
(Dates and locations to be announced soon)
And that's STILL not all!
In addition to all of the Dayton Holiday Festival events, you'll find plenty of holiday-themed and other events going on all season long downtown. For the most up-to-date listing of downtown happenings, check out our online Calendar of Events.
If you have questions about the Dayton Holiday Festival, email
or call them at (937) 224-1518.
You can help make this year's Dayton Holiday Festival great! Volunteers are needed to help with a variety of fun festival tasks. If you are interested in helping out, visit our Volunteer Opportunities page to see where help is needed and to sign up for a shift or two now!