The Dayton Holiday Festival

The Dayton Holiday Festival is your source for family-friendly holiday fun in downtown Dayton. Started by Mrs. Virginia Kettering 45 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. 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:

The Grande Illumination Tree Lighting

Friday, November 24, 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 100,000 colored lights will brighten the three-story-tall tree on Courthouse Square. Bill Nance & Melody Morris from FaithAndFriendsRadio.Com will do a live broadcast at the Old Courthouse from 5 to 8 p.m., followed by live announcing of the parade. Media sponsor: Big 106.5 FM.

The Dayton Children’s Parade Spectacular in Lights

Friday, November 24, 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.

Live Reindeer

Friday, November 24, 4-9 p.m.
Courthouse Square, Third & Main sts.
Come 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!

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 to 9 p.m., including:

Live Main Stage Entertainment

They have plenty of entertainment on the Courthouse Square Main Stage leading up to the lighting ceremony. Here’s the lineup:

4:00-4:20 p.m. – Miami Valley Music Men
4:40-5:00 p.m. – Deron Bell Band
5:10-5:30 p.m. – Berachah Valley
5:40-6:05 p.m. – Dayton Gay Men’s Chorus
6:20-6:55 p.m. – Alexis Gomez Trio
7:10-7:45 p.m. – Dayton Celebration Chorus

Junior League of Dayton’s Holiday Adventure

Courthouse Square; 4-8 p.m.
Kids will go on an adventure around the festival footprint. Children who visit all of the stops will receive a free book. Sponsored by McAfee Heating and Air Conditioning.

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.

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.

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