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dayton holiday festival

Celebrate the season in Your Downtown

The Dayton Holiday Festival is your source for family-friendly holiday fun in downtown Dayton. Started by Mrs. Virginia Kettering more than 40 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, and 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 28, 4-9 p.m. with:

The Grande Illumination tree lighting
Friday, November 28, 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 50,000 colored lights will brighten the two-story-tall holiday tree on Courthouse Square. Sponsored by Big 106.5 FM.

Big 106.5 FM Logo

The Dayton Children's Parade
Spectacular in Lights

Friday, November 28, 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.

Life-Size Snow Globe
Friday, November 28, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Courthouse Square, Third & Main sts.
New this year - a unique and fun way to capture your memories of the Grande Illumination and Parade! Jump inside the enormous snow globe and take photos among this whimsical winter scene! Sponsored by DP&L.Life-Size Snow Globe
DP&L

 

 

Magic Glasses
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!
Magic GlassesCareSource

 

 


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 4-9 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:

4:00-4:35 p.m. – Holiday Music
4:40-5:00 p.m. – Cathe Brown
5:10-5:30 p.m. – Josh Weston
5:40-6:10 p.m. – Meg Osman
6:20-6:55 p.m. – High Five Riot
7:10-7:45 p.m. – Dayton Celebration Chorus

Main Stage Entertainment is sponsored by Kroger.
Kroger

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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 will receive $500! Winners will be announced on the Main Stage before the tree lighting ceremony. Sponsored by the Downtown Priority Board, with media sponsor B94.5 FM. Download an Entry Form.

Downtown Priority Board B 94.5 FM Logo

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Holiday Village
Kettering Tower lobby, southeast corner of Second and Main streets; 4-9 p.m.
Visit a magical fantasy village featuring free crafts, games and lots of other surprises for kids. A favorite at the Holiday Village is Time Warner Cable Media's 'Dial-an-Elf' phone bank, where kids can call the North Pole and share their wish list with one of Santa's official helpers! The Holiday Village is sponsored by Time Warner Cable Media, with games and crafts sponsored by Hollywood Gaming - Dayton Raceway.

Time Warner Cable Media Logo Hollywood Gaming Logo

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Junior League of Dayton's Holiday Hunt
Courthouse Square; 4-7 p.m.
Don't miss this free downtown scavenger hunt for kids! Start at the Junior League tent on Courthouse Square, where you'll receive your map and instructions. Then follow the hunt to downtown locations to receive prizes!

Junior League of Dayton

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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.

Fifth Third Bank Logo

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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. Sponsored by Miami-Jacobs Career College.

Miami-Jacobs Career College

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DP&LThe holiday fun continues through December with
Family Weekends & Other Activities
presented by DP&L
, including:


The Tike's Shoppe
November 28-December 23
Schuster Center Wintergarden, Second & Ludlow
DP&LA 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. 813-0037. Visit during these hours:

  • Nov. 28 - 3-9 p.m. (Santa 2-7:45 p.m.)
  • Nov. 29 - 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (Santa 2-5 p.m.)
  • Nov. 30 - noon-6 p.m. (Santa 2-5 p.m.)
  • Dec. 5 - noon-7 p.m. (Santa 2-5 p.m.)
  • Dec. 6 - 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (Santa 2-5 p.m.)
  • Dec. 7 - noon-6 p.m. (Santa 2-5 p.m.)
  • Dec. 12 - noon-7 p.m. (Santa 2-5 p.m.)
  • Dec. 13 - 10 a.m.-7 p.m. (Santa 2-5 p.m.)
  • Dec. 14 - noon-7 p.m. (Santa 2-5 p.m.)
  • Dec. 15-18 - CLOSED
  • Dec. 19-23 - 10 a.m.-7 p.m. (Santa 2-5 p.m.)

ABC22 and FOX45 LogosVictoria Theatre Association YES! for Youth logo

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Wintergarden Wonderland Windows
November 28-January 2; 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; closed Christmas Eve/Day and during private events
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. 228-7591.

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Virginia Kettering's Holiday Train Display
November 28-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 one-of-a-kind model train display that was given to the community by Mrs. Virginia Kettering. This beloved community treasure has been refurbished thanks to the Virginia W. Kettering Foundation, Schultz Electric Train Layouts & Hobbies and the Miami Valley Garden Railway Society. The display can also be viewed through the building windows at Second and Main anytime. 224-1518.

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Uno's Pizza with Santa
December 6, 7, 13, 14, 20 & 21; 11 a.m.
Uno Chicago 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.

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Family Movie Series
December 6, 13, & 20; 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: Channel 99.9. 222-7469. Scheduled films:

  • December 6 - Elf
  • December 13 - The Muppet Christmas Carol
  • December 20 - The Bishop's Wife

Channel 99.9 Logo

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Noontime Entertainment
December 8-19; noon
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 2014 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.

(schedule of performing groups and locations coming soon)

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Dayton Holiday FestivalAnd 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 This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it ,or This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it or call them at (937) 224-1518.


Volunteers Needed!
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!