DAYTON, Ohio, Nov. 18, 2019 — Downtown Dayton will celebrate 47 years of the holiday season during the month-long Dayton Holiday Festival, presented by DP&L, which kicks off with the Grande Illumination and Dayton Children’s Parade Spectacular in Lights from 4 to 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29. Courthouse Square will be the center of the evening full of family entertainment.
Returning this year is the fan-favorite photo station featuring live reindeer! The exhibit includes a sleigh and reindeer that create the perfect backdrop for holiday cards or photos. There’s also a petting area for interactive fun. The display is a gift to the community from presenting sponsor DP&L.
Activities planned for the day include the Grande Illumination tree-lighting ceremony, presented by DP&L. Use the magic glasses, sponsored by CareSource, to reveal the special pattern. Other activities for the day of family fun include live musical entertainment on the main stage, sponsored by Sinclair College; carnival rides and games, sponsored by Fifth Third Bank; crafts and activities in the Holiday Village inside Stratacache Tower, sponsored by Dayton Children’s Hospital; the Junior League of Dayton’s Holiday Adventure, sponsored by McAfee Heating and Air-Conditioning; horse-drawn wagon rides; and a gingerbread house display, sponsored by the Downtown Priority Board. The suggested cost for wagon rides is $1 per person, but all other activities are free.
The tree-lighting ceremony will take place at 7:45 p.m. on Courthouse Square, followed immediately by the Dayton Children’s Parade Spectacular in Lights, presented by White Allen. Thousands of lights will illuminate the 45-minute parade, featuring a variety of festive floats, entertainers, animals and several surprises.
“The Grande Illumination and Dayton Children’s Parade Spectacular in Lights is a great night for the family to come downtown,” said Sandy Gudorf, president of the Downtown Dayton Partnership. “This year has been tough for so many reasons, among which was the sad news that our parade floats were vandalized. But thanks to the hard work of dozens of volunteers and specialized expertise from local artist Amy Deal and lighting by the NECA/IBEW Electrical Professionals, we will be able to enjoy beautifully restored, reimagined parade floats this year! It will truly be a magical night guaranteed to put you in the holiday spirit.”
This year’s grand marshals for the parade include representatives from area first responders, who played important roles during most of the challenging events our community faced this past year. Thank you!
Help out local families in need. For the Love of Children will be collecting donation to assist families in our community, like those impacted by the Memorial Day tornadoes. Stop by the tent near the tree and stage on Courthouse Square to learn more and make a donation.
The Dayton Holiday Festival continues throughout the month of December with such activities as the Family Movie Series at The Neon, the Tike’s Shoppe, Virginia Kettering’s Holiday Train Display, animated window displays and entertainment in the Schuster Center Wintergarden, and more.
The Dayton Holiday Festival is presented by the Downtown Dayton Partnership, Dayton Power & Light, the City of Dayton, Montgomery County and the Mrs. Virginia W. Kettering Dayton Holiday Festival Fund. Special thanks to WHIOTV-7 and BIG106.5 FM for in-kind media support. A complete list of festival events is available online, as well as a calendar of other downtown holiday events.
The DDP’s website has a complete list of downtown’s events, a dining guide, parking map and more at www.downtowndayton.org. Follow the DDP on Facebook to keep up with downtown events and news.
Grande Illumination & Dayton Children’s Parade Spectacular in Lights Schedule
Grande Illumination, presented by DP&L ― The tree-lighting ceremony will take place at 7:45 p.m. on
Courthouse Square. Media sponsor: BIG 106.5 FM
Dayton Children’s Parade Spectacular in Lights, presented by White Allen ― More than 100,000 lights will
illuminate the newly restored and redecorated floats and other units in the parade, which starts immediately
following the Grande Illumination. The route: West Second Street to Main Street, south on Main Street to
Fourth Street, and then west on Fourth Street. Media sponsor: NewsCenter 7. New LED parade lights sponsored
by NECA/IBEW Electrical Professionals.
Live reindeer photo station, sponsored by DP&L — Take a family photo with a sleigh and live reindeer. It’s
unique and fun way to capture your memories of the Grande Illumination and Parade!
Main Stage Entertainment, sponsored by Sinclair College ― Enjoy live entertainment on the Courthouse
Square stage. Performances begin around 4 p.m. The schedule is:
o 4:05-4:25 p.m. – Blue Heron Trio
o 4:40-5:00 p.m. – Viva La Strings
o 5:10-5:30 p.m. – Berachah Valley
o 5:40-6:05 p.m. – Sinclair Chorus
o 6:20-6:55 p.m. – Alexis Gomez
o 7:10-7:45 p.m. – Dayton Celebration Chorus
Magic Glasses, sponsored by CareSource ― Look for volunteers passing out these special glasses on
Courthouse Square prior to the tree lighting, or pick up a pair at any information station.
Gingerbread Victors Village, sponsored by the Downtown Priority Board ― Check out the “best of the best”
from previous Gingerbread Homes for the Holiday contest winners and local bakeries, located inside the old
Montgomery County courthouse.
The Holiday Village, sponsored by Dayton Children’s Hospital ― Located in the lobby of the Stratacache
(formerly Kettering) Tower from 4-9 p.m., this is a favorite stop for children, featuring free crafts and games for
kids and Mrs. Virginia Kettering’s train on display. Kids also can make holiday arts and crafts and play games.
The Holiday Village Stage schedule includes live performances.
Street Fair on Third, sponsored by Fifth Third Bank ― At this holiday street fair, free rides will be set up on
Third Street between Main and Ludlow streets.
Horse-Drawn Wagon Rides ― From 4 to 7:30 p.m., wagons will pick up passengers at the corner of Second and
Main streets for a ride through downtown. Rides are $1 per person. Lines can be long, so come early.
The Tike’s Shoppe, sponsored by DP&L and managed by YES! For Youth ― For decades, children in Dayton
have been able to shop for their loved ones in a store that’s just their size. The shop will be located in the
Schuster Center Wintergarden near the entrance at Ludlow and Second streets, and will officially open the day
of the Grande Illumination from 3 to 9 p.m. The Tike’s Shoppe will be open on selected dates through Dec. 23.
For specific times, call (937) 545-1334. Additional support for the Tike’s Shoppe comes from Victoria Theatre
Association, ABC22/FOX45, and B94.5 Hot Country.
Junior League of Dayton’s Holiday Adventure, sponsored by McAfee Heating and Air-Conditioning – Kids will
go on an adventure around the festival footprint, presented by the Junior League of Dayton. Children who visit
all the stops will receive a free book.
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