Annual Dayton holiday tradition returns in one week

Mike Colvin DDP Press Releases

The 51st annual Dayton Holiday Festival kickoff celebration is set for Friday, November 24.


November 17, 2023 (DAYTON, Ohio) – The holiday season is just around the corner and this year’s celebration officially begins at the 51st Dayton Holiday Festival kickoff presented by AES Ohio! This year’s free community gathering will take place at its new time of 3 to 8 p.m. on Friday, November 24, at downtown Dayton’s Courthouse Square and will feature several favorite family-fun traditions for the downtown holiday season.


Festivities planned for Friday, November 24, include the Grande Illumination tree-lighting ceremony presented by AES Ohio, live musical entertainment on the main stage sponsored by Sinclair Community College, the Street Fair on Third sponsored by altafiber, kids activities in the Holiday Village, the Junior League of Dayton’s Holiday Adventure sponsored by Wright-Patt Credit Union, horse-drawn wagon rides, and a gingerbread house contest in the Old Courthouse. The suggested donation for wagon rides is $1 per person, but all other activities are free.


The main event of the evening, the tree-lighting ceremony, will begin at 7:00 p.m. on Courthouse Square, followed immediately by the Dayton Children’s Parade Spectacular in Lights, presented by White-Allen Chevrolet and Miami Valley Chevy Dealers. The parade will feature a variety of floats and local entertainers all illuminated by bright lights to create a bright and glowing welcome for the holiday season in downtown Dayton.


“Mrs. Virginia Kettering’s mission when she started this event more than 50 years ago was to ensure everyone in our community can share in a holiday tradition together, regardless of economic means,” said President of the Downtown Dayton Partnership, Katie Meyer. “It’s an honor to carry on her legacy and to be involved in this event that’s really become a cherished holiday tradition for so many over the past 50 years,”


The Dayton Holiday Festival is presented by The Downtown Dayton Partnership and AES Ohio and is sponsored by White-Allen Chevrolet and Miami Valley Chevy Dealers, CareSource, and the Virginia W. Kettering Dayton Holiday Festival Fund. Additional support comes from the City of Dayton, Montgomery County, altafiber, NECA/IBEW Electrical Professionals, Premier Health, Sinclair College, Wright-Patt Credit Union, Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, Dayton Children’s Hospital as well as media sponsors, and Key-Ads.


The DDP’s website has a complete list of downtown’s events, dining guides, parking maps and more at 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 AES Ohio ― Watch the holidays light up during Dayton’s traditional tree lighting. At 7:00 p.m., we’ll throw the switch and approximately 50,000 lights will brighten the big tree on Courthouse Square! Free.
    Holiday tree sponsored by Premier Health.
  • Dayton Children’s Parade Spectacular in Lights, presented by White Allen Chevrolet and Miami Valley Chevy Dealers– 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. Free. LED parade lights sponsored by NECA/IBEW Electrical Professionals.
  • Live reindeer photo station, sponsored by AES Ohio — 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! Free. Sponsored by AES Ohio
  • Main Stage Entertainment, sponsored by Sinclair Community College ― Enjoy live entertainment on the Courthouse Square stage. Scheduled to perform:
  • 3:00 – 3:25pm Dayton Metro Barbershop Chorus
  • 3:30 – 3:55pm Berachah Valley
  • 4:05 – 4:30pm Gwen Brown
  • 4:40 – 5:05pm Tori Adams
  • 5:15 – 5:40pm SaxTone
  • 5:50 – 6:20pm Reyna Spears Holiday Band
  • 6:30 – 6:50pm Dayton Celebration Chorus
  • 6:55pm Dayton Celebration Chorus – Jingle Bells


  • Magic Glasses, sponsored by CareSource ― For a fun and special added touch, grab a pair of free “magic glasses” on Courthouse Square before watching the tree lighting and parade to see the holiday lights in a whole new way! Free. Sponsored by CareSource
  • Gingerbread Homes for the Holidays ― View all the delicious contest entries and the award-winning houses, and vote for your favorite, located inside the old Montgomery County courthouse.
  • The Holiday Village ― Located inside STRATACACHE Tower, this is a favorite stop for children, featuring free activities for kids and Mrs. Virginia Kettering’s train on display. Scheduled to perform:
  • 3:30-4:15pm Magic by Dave
  • 4:30-5:15pm Roz Puppet Show
  • 5:30-6:30pm Juggling: Craig Muhlenkamp
  • 6:30-7:15 p.m. Young Professionals Choral Collective
  • Street Fair on Third, sponsored by altafiber ― At this holiday street fair, free rides and other activities will be set up on Third Street between Main and Ludlow streets. Sponsored by altafiber
  • Horse-Drawn Wagon Rides, Sponsored by Dinsmore & Shohl LLP ― From 3 to 6:30 p.m., wagons will pick up passengers near the corner of Second and Main streets for a ride through downtown. Rides are $1 per person suggested donation. Lines can be long, so come early. Sponsored by Dinsmore & Shohl LLP
  • Junior League of Dayton’s Holiday Adventure, sponsored by Wright-Patt Credit Union – From 3 to 7 p.m., kids can join an adventure around the festival footprint, presented by the Junior League of Dayton. Children who visit all the stops will receive a free book! Presented by the Junior League of Dayton. Sponsored by Wright-Patt Credit Union
  • Rike’s Holiday Windows – Located inside the Schuster Center Wintergarden, experience a reimagining of the Rike’s department store holiday window displays that once stood at this busy downtown corner. Free. Presented by Dayton Live
  • Downtown Jingle Lights – Along E. Monument Ave. and Main St., tune to 95.1 FM as you see downtown streets transformed into an interactive, drive-thru light show, choreographed to the beat of your favorite holiday tunes!





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