DAYTON HOLIDAY FESTIVAL
HOLIDAY KICKOFF & A FULL MONTH OF FUN EVENTS
Started by Mrs. Virginia Kettering in 1972 so that all children could enjoy the holiday season regardless of their economic means, the festival continues today with free attractions for the community.
This year, the festival will include some special additions and surprises to celebrate half a century of making holiday memories in downtown Dayton!
The holiday fun continues through December with
Family Fun Days & Other Activities
presented by AES Ohio, including:
50 Favorite Things
November 1-December 20
@DowntownDayton on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
Celebrate 50 years of the Dayton Holiday Festival with our 50 Favorite Things about being downtown during the holidays! Get inspiration for family fun all season long with these posts on our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages. Free. 224-1518.
Sponsored by Fifth Third Bank
This year, we’re celebrating 50 years of golden traditions and memories with our 50 Favorite Things - sponsored by Fifth Third Bank! Our list isn't ranked, but day number one is the most important of all: creating lasting holiday memories and family traditions downtown! Since 1972, the Dayton Holiday Festival presented by AES Ohio has brought families together to celebrate as a community. This year’s festival will feature many of the same events you’ve loved for decades, along with some special surprises to celebrate the event’s Golden Anniversary. The celebration begins Friday, November 25, at the Dayton Holiday Festival Kickoff Event! Keep an eye here as we celebrate our 50 Favorite Things about spending the holidays downtown! Send us your own on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!
Handmade gifts from local artists! 🎁 Unique goods from talented local artists will spice up your gift-giving this year! Check out the Dayton Holiday Festival calendar of events to find downtown's bazaars and pop-up shops at daytonholidayfestival.org
What's not to love about the Street Fair on Third? Enjoy free carnival rides throughout the evening, sponsored by altafiber (formerly Cincinnati Bell)! It's happening during the Dayton Holiday Festival Kickoff Event on Friday, November 25!
Finding unique gift exchange gifts at one of downtown's thrift or vintage shops! 🎁 No matter what you’re looking for, these independently owned businesses feature goods that are sure to spice up any Yankee swap! Shop small, shop local, shop downtown. Check out a directory of some of the best shopping downtown has to offer at downtowndayton.org/things-to-do/shopping-services/
Dinner and a holiday-themed murder mystery show! 🕵️♂️ 'Tis the season for solving a mystery! The Spaghetti Warehouse Dayton puts a holiday twist on their popular murder mystery dinner theatre shows! Put on your best holiday thinking cap, grab your magnifying glass covered in tinsel, and join them for Glittery Grim Gala happening this holiday season! The first show is happening Monday, November 7, and you can see a full list of the show dates on our Dayton Holiday Festival calendar at daytonholidayfestival.org
The Gingerbread Homes for the Holidays competition is in the spotlight for Day 6 of our 50 Favorite Things about the Dayton Holiday Festival, presented by AES Ohio! 🍬 Who will take home the grand prize for best gingerbread house on the block? You can view all of the delicious entries while they’re on display inside The Old Courthouse on November 25. Voting will take place the same night during the Grande Illumination tree lighting.
Grabbing tasty hot chocolate from your favorite downtown cafe! Think about it: warm chocolate-y goodness, whipped cream, and maybe even a marshmallow or two! The holiday season is not complete without hot chocolate! There’s no shortage of places to enjoy this winter staple in downtown Dayton and you can find them all with the help of our Espresso & Treats self-guided walking tour! Learn more at downtowndayton.org/things-to-do/self-guided-tours/
Visits with live reindeer! On Dasher, on Dancer, on Prancer, on - well, you know the rest! You can meet Santa’s reindeer on Courthouse Square during the Dayton Holiday Festival and Grande Illumination on Friday, November 25! Meet Santa’s traveling team and take a picture on his sleigh to celebrate 50 years of the Dayton Holiday Festival!
Waffle Shop To Go! 🧇 Waffles anyone? Waffle Shop returns this year as a carry-out only event! Enjoy the iconic made-from-scratch waffles with sausages, soups, sandwiches, salad, desserts, and drinks at reasonable prices. The tastiest part? Proceeds from the sale go to small, local non-profit groups. Online order only. Orders are open now at daytonchristepiscopal.com
Exploring the Holiday Village. Walkin’ in a winter wonderland🎵 The magical fantasy village inside the Stratacache Tower returns for 2022 as part of this year’s Dayton Holiday Festival! Featuring free crafts, games, live holiday music, and other family-friendly surprises, this immersive experience is sure to get you into all the holiday feels!
Taking holiday drinks to-go! Cheers to the most wonderful time of the year! 🍻 Take your holiday drinks to-go this year while you’re out and about in the designated DORA in The Oregon District! Whether you’re in the mood for eggnog, a Hot Toddy, or a White Russian, you can take a sip of the holiday season – responsibly, of course!
The Thanksgiving Day Feast Buffet at The Dayton Woman's Club! Who’s hungry? Bring your family and friends to this elegant holiday buffet and let the Dayton Woman’s Club indulge your tastes of the season with traditional Thanksgiving favorites! Check out more details and make your reservations for this year’s buffet at daytonwomansclub.org/programs-events/thanksgiving-buffet-november-24-2022
Horse-drawn wagon rides! Take a scenic ride downtown on a horse-drawn wagon ride during the 50th Dayton Holiday Festival, presented by AES Ohio! See the sights and snap a picture on this journey of holiday magic. $1 donations are encouraged for all riders.
Downtown Jingle Lights! Enjoy an interactive, drive-thru light show at the Downtown Jingle Lights sponsored by iHeartRadio! Tune into 105.7 FM to see the show choreographed to the beat of your favorite holiday tunes! Downtown Jingle Lights will kick off on Friday, November 25, just after the Grande Illumination. You'll find them in Courthouse Square, along E. Monument Avenue, and along Main Street!
Mrs. Virginia Kettering's Holiday Train Display 🚂 Not only did Mrs. Kettering create the beloved Dayton Holiday Festival, she also gifted the community a one-of-a-kind train model that is still displayed every holiday season! Visitors of all ages can see the display in the Stratacache Tower lobby at the corner of Second and Main sts. November 25 - January 2.
We're just over one week away! Brighten up your holiday season with The Dayton Children’s Parade Spectacular in Lights, sponsored by White Allen Chevrolet. The parade steps off right after the Grande Illumination on Friday, November 25! Enjoy decorative seasonal floats, horses, drill teams and bands, and some special holiday treats sparkling with more than 100,000 lights provided by NECA/IBEW Electrical Professionals.
Downtown Dollars Holiday Bonus Buy! 💸 Check off those holiday shopping lists, keep your money downtown, AND get a bonus for yourself! What could be better? While supplies last, you can get a $25 Downtown Dollars bonus e-card when you buy $50 in Downtown Dollars! There’s no better way to finish off your shopping list and support small businesses this holiday season. That $25 Bonus Buy card can be used as a gift OR you can treat yourself this holiday season! Learn more about Downtown Dollars and see the 80+ participating downtown businesses at downtowndayton.org/dollars
The Grande Illumination Tree Lighting, presented by AES Ohio! 🎄 Holiday cheer shines bright at the Dayton Holiday Festival – literally! Watch as more than 50,000 GOLD lights provided by Premier Health turn the Dayton Holiday Festival tree into the centerpiece of this year’s golden anniversary celebration!
The Rike's Holiday Windows, presented by Dayton Live! You'll find one of the area’s longest-running holiday traditions at the Schuster Center — 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. You can see the windows now through December 31, excluding major holidays and private events!
The Holiday Adventure - Adventure is out there 🎈 On Friday, November 25, kids can have their own adventure around the Dayton Holiday Festival with the Junior League of Dayton, sponsored by Wright-Patt Credit Union! Children who visit all of the stops will receive a free book!
Day 21 of our 50 Favorite Things, sponsored by Fifth Third Bank, is a new addition to the Dayton Holiday Festival - Memory Lane on Main, sponsored by Johnson Electric! Travel back in time to relive cherished memories from the Dayton Holiday Festival! You'll see photos just like this one of Mrs. Virginia Kettering and Santa Claus in stroll down Memory Lane on Main. Business windows along Main Street will display images from 50 years of downtown holiday tradition. Look, learn, and create your own vision of the future. You can see the display November 25-January 1.
Stock Up Wednesday! Did you wait until the last minute to do your Thanksgiving shopping? No worries! 2nd Street Market will be open 11a-3p tomorrow, November 23, to pick up your last-minute Thanksgiving needs, including homemade bread, turkeys, hams, desserts, flowers, and more.
Searching for elves! The search is on starting Nov. 26! Can you spot the Elf hidden inside the windows of downtown businesses? Text a photo of your find to 937-668-7227 or tag us and use the hashtag #DaytonElfie and you could win Downtown Dollars!
Skating at RiverScape MetroPark! Sheltered under the covered pavilion, the rink sets the scene as a perfect winter wonderland in downtown Dayton! While the rink is open, you can enjoy delicious treats from the concession area, including a cup of hot chocolate. Take advantage of fun skating activities, such as lessons, themed skating nights and more. The rink officially opens November 26. See hours, rates, and special activities planned at the rink at metroparks.org/ice-rink/
Flipping the Switch! It’s a big light switch for an even bigger moment! Who will be the lucky person to flip the AES Ohio switch for the Grande Illumination? See which of your neighbors will get the big honor of officially kicking off the holiday season downtown. You can watch the big show in person at Courthouse Square November 25 at 7:55 p.m. or tune into WHIO at 7:30 p.m. for the Grande Illumination special and live tree lighting!
Small Business Saturday! Small businesses are the heart of downtown! Be sure to show them some extra love today for Small Business Saturday, and check off some of the names on your holiday shopping list.
Visits with Santa! 🎅 🎶Santa Claus is coming downtown!🎶 You can meet the big man in red every Saturday and Sunday in December from 1-4pm at the Schuster Center. But wait – it gets better! You can even have pizza with Santa at Uno’s! Reservations are required.
Live holiday performances! 🎶 From Handel's Messiah to Who's Holiday, there are several great opportunities to see live music and performances downtown this year! Many of the plays, concerts, and musicals are available right now in the Dayton Holiday Festival calendar of events. Check it out to see more details and learn how to get tickets!
Giving Tuesday! Downtown is home to several charitable groups and foundations working to make our community an even better place. Take the time on this global day of giving to make a difference right here at home. You can use our Find It Downtown Guide to explore those local organizations now at downtowndayton.org/find-it-downtown/
Rike's Holiday Windows
November 18-December 31
Schuster Center Wintergarden, Second & Main sts.; Mon.-Sun.: 8 a.m.- 6 p.m.
Closed for Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.
Experience a reimagining of the Rike’s department store holiday window displays that once stood at this busy downtown corner. Free.
(Not accessible during private events. Call 228-7591 to confirm hours.)
Presented by Dayton Live
Visit with Santa from 1 to 4 p.m. on November 26 & 27 and December 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, & 18
Memory Lane on Main
November 25-January 1
Windows along Main Street between Monument Avenue and Fourth Street
Relive 50 years of the Dayton Holiday Festival with a special display of historical photographs and other memories. Free. 224-1518.
Sponsored by Johnson Electric
Downtown Jingle Lights
November 25-January 1
E. Monument Avenue & Main Street
See downtown streets transformed into an interactive, drive-thru light show, choreographed to the beat of your favorite holiday tunes! Tune your radio to 105.7 FM as you drive the route. Free. 224-1518.
Sponsored by iHeartRADIO
Virginia Kettering's Holiday Train Display
November 25-January 2
Stratacache Tower lobby at the corner of Second & Main sts. View in building lobby Mon-Sat, or through windows anytime.
View this one-of-a-kind model train display given to the community by Mrs. Virginia Kettering. (Use Second St. building entrance.) Free. 224-1518.
Whimsical Windows Contest & Elf Hunt
Beginning November 25, with online voting Dec. 2-30
Select businesses throughout downtown
This annual contest shows off the creativity of downtown Dayton's collection of small businesses as they decorate their storefront windows for the holidays in their own unique ways. Enjoy shopping, dining, and exploring downtown Dayton in this fun and festive atmosphere! Vote for your favorite window display online. Can you spot the Elf hidden inside the windows of downtown businesses? Text a photo of your find to 937-668-7227 or tag us and use the hashtag #DaytonElfie and you could win Downtown Dollars! Free.
Sponsored by Dayton.com
MetroParks Ice Rink
November 25-February 26
RiverScape MetroPark, 237 E. Monument Ave.
Sheltered under the covered pavilion, the MetroParks Ice Rink sets the scene as a perfect winter wonderland in downtown Dayton. Patrons may skate daily. While the rink is open, you can enjoy delicious treats from the concession area, including a cup of hot chocolate. Take advantage of fun skating activities, such as lessons, themed skating nights and more. Visit metroparks.org/ice-rink to learn more, find daily open hours and costs, and see a schedule of events. 278-2607.
Family Movie Series
December 3, 10, & 17; 11 a.m.
The Neon, 130 E. Fifth St.
Bring the family to The Neon for fun, festive holiday films. Free admission for kids 12 and under, $2 for adults.
Sponsored by Dayton Children's Hospital
December 3 - Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone
December 10 - Elf
December 17 - White Christmas
Titles subject to change - call theater for confirmation.
Uno's Pizza with Santa
December 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, & 18; 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m.
Uno Chicago Grill, 126 N. Main St.
Have a special lunch with Santa. Reservations required. Call for cost and reservations. 910-8000.
Dec. 6-9 & 13-16; 12 p.m.
Stratacache Tower lobby, Second and Main streets
A downtown office building rings with the sound of music during the holiday season. Groups from throughout the Miami Valley perform a mix of holiday selections during the Dayton Holiday Festival's Noontime Entertainment Program. Starting at 12 noon, performing groups will present their holiday selections as lunchtime entertainment. 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. Free. 224-1518.
December 6 - Reyna Spears & Dana Farley
December 7 - Samuri West
December 8 - Harmonica Neil
December 9 - Vival la Strings
December 13 - Danny Voris
December 14 - SaxTone
December 15 - Horace Mann Choir
December 16 - Young Professionals Choral Collective
HOLIDAY FESITVAL MEMORIES
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 Lynn Robertson, or call her at (937) 224-1518 ext. 227.