July 19, 2023 (DAYTON, Ohio) – The 51st annual Dayton Holiday Festival Grande Illumination and Children’s Parade will return to downtown Dayton’s Courthouse Square on Friday, November 24, 2023. Event organizers have been working extensively with the Dayton Police Department and other community partners on a comprehensive analysis of the event. While guests’ favorite activities will return and remain unchanged, recommended logistical and security enhancements have been made to the 2023 kickoff event.
Safety continues to be a top priority following the 2022 Grande Illumination and Children’s Parade. Near the end of last year’s kickoff event, a disturbance between juveniles occurred and a single gunshot was fired into the air. The Dayton Police Department quickly responded to ensure no one was injured and that there was no further danger to attendees. The DPD investigation is ongoing.
In the days immediately following the incident, event organizers, Dayton Police, and other key community members held a comprehensive and thorough review of the event. Meetings and discussions have continued in the months since to further examine event programming, operations, timing, location, and safety protocols.
To ensure the safety of all participants and attendees of this long-standing community event, several recommendations have been made for the 2023 Grande Illumination and Children’s Parade:
- Reposition and better disperse on-duty officers around the event footprint to create better coverage and visibility at the event, including the addition of bike patrol officers
- Use supplemental security resources to increase the safety presence at the event
- Move the event start and end time one hour earlier (3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.)
“Continuing this beloved holiday tradition is important to our community. In doing so, the comfort and safety of our guests at the Dayton Holiday Festival remains our highest priority,” said Sandra K. Gudorf, president of the Downtown Dayton Partnership. “It is our obligation to carefully examine all aspects of the event to ensure we do all we can to keep this downtown tradition of 50 years a safe and welcoming place for all.”
The 2023 Dayton Holiday Festival and Grande Illumination are presented by AES Ohio and the Downtown Dayton Partnership. Additional support comes from the Mrs. Virginia W. Kettering Dayton Holiday Festival Fund, Montgomery County and the City of Dayton.
Details about this year’s Dayton Holiday Festival will be made available in the coming months.
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