Celebrating its 50th year in 2022, the Dayton Holiday Festival, kicks off at 4pm today with lots of family-friendly holiday fun in downtown Dayton!
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.
Activities planned for the day include:
The Grande Illumination tree-lighting ceremony – FREE – The Grande Illumination is going gold for our 50th anniversary! Watch the holidays light up during Dayton’s traditional tree lighting. At 7:55 p.m., we’ll throw the switch and approximately 50,000 gold lights will brighten the two-story-tall tree on Courthouse Square in honor of the festival’s 50th anniversary!
Dayton Children’s Parade Spectacular in Lights – FREE – 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.
Live musical entertainment – FREE – Enjoy holiday songs and other live entertainment on the Courthouse Square Main Stage leading up to the lighting ceremony.
Live Reindeer – FREE – 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!
Street Fair on Third – FREE – Enjoy free rides and other activities for kids throughout the evening!
Horse-drawn Wagon Rides – 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.) Suggested donation: $1 per person.
Holiday Village – FREE – Fun children’s activities in the Stratacache Tower lobby
Memory Lane on Main – Main Street windows will be transformed into Memory Lane with this display of historical photographs from the past 50 years! Take a look back at the first magical years of the Dayton Holiday Festival as we celebrate another year of community tradition.
Gingerbread Homes for the Holidays – FREE – View all the delicious contest entries and the award-winning houses, and vote for your favorite, located inside the old Montgomery County courthouse.
More holiday festivities all season long with these events:
Rike’s Holiday Windows – FREE – Located inside the Schuster Center Wintergarden starting Nov 18, experience a reimagining of the Rike’s department store holiday window displays that once stood at this busy downtown corner.
Virginia Ketterings Holiday Train Display – FREE – View this one-of-a-kind model train display given to the community by Mrs. Virginia Kettering.
Family Movie Series – Bring the family to The Neon for fun, festive holiday films. Free admission for kids 12 and under, $2 for adults.
Downtown Jingle Lights – FREE – Drive along Main Street and Monument Avenue starting Nov 25 to see our downtown streets transformed into an interactive, drive-thru light show, choreographed to the beat of your favorite holiday tunes! Tune your radio to 105.3 FM as you drive the route throughout the holiday season.
Ice Skating – The MetroParks Ice Rink at RiverScape MetroPark opens for the season on Nov. 25.