Dayton Holiday Festival announces golden celebration for 50th anniversary

Mike Colvin DDP Press Releases

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Dayton Holiday Festival announces golden celebration for 50th anniversary

The 50th year of the Dayton Holiday Festival kicks off on November 25 with the Grande Illumination and Dayton Children’s Parade

October 27, 2022 (DAYTON, Ohio) – The Dayton Holiday Festival, presented by AES Ohio, makes its extra special, golden return to downtown Dayton in less than a month! 2022 marks 50 years of this wonderful community tradition and the official kickoff to the holiday season! The 50th anniversary of the month-long Dayton Holiday Festival begins on Friday, November 25, with free, family-friendly events continuing through December.

This year’s golden anniversary celebration event includes the return of family favorite activities as well as some special surprises to celebrate 50 wonderful years of bringing holiday magic downtown:

  • 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.
  • 50 Favorite Things – We are taking a look back at some of our favorite things about the holiday season downtown and 50 years of the Dayton Holiday Festival. Highlights will be posted on social media (@DowntownDayton) and at com in the days leading up to and following the Grande Illumination so families can reminisce and find even more ways to create lasting memories.
  • 50th-anniversary golden tree – The Grande Illumination is going gold! Watch as we flip the switch on approximately 50,000 gold lights along with other special touches designed to celebrate this cherished family tradition’s run of 50 years.


“Mrs. Virginia Kettering started the Dayton Holiday Festival in 1972 to bring people together and make sure everyone could celebrate as a community,” said Sandra K. Gudorf, President of the Downtown Dayton Partnership. “We’re honored to work with the Kettering family to continue her tradition and mark such an important milestone for this incredible event. Year after year, we’ve enjoyed making holiday memories with you in our downtown, and we can’t wait to continue that this year and into the future.”

The main event of the festival kickoff, the tree-lighting ceremony, will take place at 7:55 p.m. on Friday, November 25. Guests can watch as this year’s tree comes alive and turns Courthouse Square into a glowing, golden spectacle right in the middle of downtown Dayton.

Immediately following the Grande Illumination is the Dayton Children’s Parade Spectacular in Lights. The parade will feature a variety of floats and entertainers illuminated by thousands of bright lights and gold accents in honor of the golden anniversary of the Dayton Holiday Festival. The route: West Second Street to Main Street, south on Main Street to Fourth Street, and then west on Fourth Street.

That’s not all that’s planned for the kickoff event; here’s even more happening from 4 to 9 p.m. on Friday, November 25:

  • Grande Illumination Activities ― Leading up to the tree-lighting ceremony, live entertainment begins at 4 p.m. on Courthouse Square, along with the Street Fair on Third, visits with live reindeer, the Holiday Village, and more surprises happening around Courthouse Square all evening long.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Downtown Jingle Lights – See Main Street and Monument Avenue 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.

Those unable to attend this year’s kickoff event can still enjoy some of the festivities from home by tuning into WHIO-TV at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, November 25, to watch the Grande Illumination TV special and live tree lighting.

The Grande Illumination and Dayton Children’s Parade are just the beginning of a month-long holiday celebration downtown. The Dayton Holiday Festival continues through the month of December with Holiday Family Fun Days and a calendar full of family-friendly events, including such favorites as the Family Movie Series at The Neon, Pizza with Santa at Uno Chicago Grill, holiday Noontime Entertainment in downtown office buildings, and the Whimsical Windows contest. A complete list of festival events is available online at, or in holiday events calendars available at businesses throughout downtown.

The Dayton Holiday Festival is made possible every year thanks to the support and generosity of the downtown community! Thank you for 50 great years of holiday magic!

The 2022 Dayton Holiday Festival is presented by AES Ohio, and is a program of the Downtown Dayton Partnership, with funding from the Mrs. Virginia W. Kettering Dayton Holiday Festival Fund. Additional sponsorship support comes from CareSource, White-Allen Chevrolet, Dayton Live, the City of Dayton, Montgomery County, Fifth Third Bank, altafiber, Dayton Children’s Hospital, Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, Johnson Electric, NECA/IBEW Electrical Professionals, Premier Health, Key-Ads, and Wright-Patt Credit Union. Media sponsors include, iHeartRADIO, and WHIO-TV.




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