DAYTON — Downtown Dayton will celebrate 43 years of celebrating the holiday season during the month-long Dayton Holiday Festival, which kicks off with the Grande Illumination and Dayton Children’s Parade Spectacular in Lights from 4 to 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 27. Courthouse Square will be the center of the evening full of family entertainment.
Back by popular demand, the snow globe attraction returns to Courthouse Square. Families are invited to “shake up” their traditional holiday photo by snapping pictures inside a festive, large-scale snow globe.
Activities planned for the Grande Illumination, presented by DP&L, include live musical entertainment, carnival rides and games, holiday crafts, horse-drawn wagon rides, and a gingerbread house display. The wagon rides have a suggested donation of $1 per person, but all other activities are free.
A 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 Miami Valley Hospital. 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 entire family to come downtown,” said Sandra Gudorf, president of the Downtown Dayton Partnership (DDP). “It is a magical night guaranteed to put you in the holiday spirit.”
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 the Downtown Dayton Partnership, the City of Dayton, Montgomery County and the Mrs. Virginia W. Kettering Dayton Holiday Festival Fund. A complete list of festival events is available online, as well as a calendar of other downtown holiday events.
Volunteers are still needed for the Grande Illumination. Sign up online to volunteer.
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.
Friday, Nov. 27, 2015
• Grande Illumination, presented by DP&L ― The tree-lighting ceremony will be held at 7:45 p.m. on Courthouse Square. Media sponsor: BIG 106.5 FM
• Dayton Children’s Parade Spectacular in Lights, presented by Miami Valley Hospital ― More than 100,000 lights will illuminate the 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.
• Snow Globe photo station, sponsored by DP&L — Take a family photo inside a huge, holiday-decorated snow globe. It’s unique and fun way to capture your memories of the Grande Illumination and Parade!
• Main Stage Entertainment ― Enjoy live entertainment on the Courthouse Square stage. Performances begin around 4 p.m. The schedule is:
4:00-4:20 p.m. – Dancing Divas
4:40-5:00 p.m. – Miami Valley Dance Council
5:10-5:30 p.m. – Connect III
5:40-6:05 p.m. – Centerville Community Chorus
6:20-6:55 p.m. – Alexis Gomez Trio
7:10-7:45 p.m. – Young Professionals Choral Collective
• Gingerbread Homes for the Holidays Contest, sponsored by the Downtown Dayton Priority Board and B94.5 Hot Country ― Contest entries will be on display in the Old Courthouse. The top amateur and professional houses each will receive $500. Winners will be announced on the Main Stage before the Grande Illumination.
• The Holiday Village, sponsored by Time Warner Cable Media ― Located in the lobby of the Kettering Tower from 4-9 p.m., this is a favorite stop for children, featuring with free crafts and games for kids and Mrs. Virginia Kettering’s train on display. At the “Dial-An-Elf” station, kids can speak to one of Santa’s helpers and share their wish list. Kids also can make holiday arts and crafts and play games, sponsored by Hollywood Gaming – Dayton Raceway. The Holiday Village Stage schedule includes performances by:
4:00-4:30 p.m. – Christmas Music
4:30-5:30 p.m. – Viva La Strings
6:00-6:30 p.m. – Young Professionals Choral Collective
6:45-7:45 p.m. – Viva La Strings
• 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, managed by YES! For Youth with support from: ABC 22/FOX 45 and the Victoria Theatre Association ― 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. Guests also can relive the magic of Rike’s animated holiday windows, on display in the Wintergarden. The Tike’s Shoppe will be open on selected dates through Dec. 23. For specific times, call (937) 212-1983.
• Junior League of Dayton’s Holiday Hunt ― 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 and a free book. Limited quantity available.
• Magic Glasses, sponsored by CareSource ― Look for volunteers passing out these special glasses on Courthouse Square prior to the tree lighting.