For more information, call Krystal Luketic: 937-224-1518, ex

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Dayton Holiday Festival Marks 40 Years, Kicks Off with Grande Illumination & Dayton Children’s Parade Spectacular in Lights on Thanksgiving Weekend
DAYTON, Nov. 8, 2012 —This year, Dayton’s traditional holiday celebration will mark 40 years of kindling the spirit of the season in the Dayton region. The month-long Dayton Holiday Festival, presented by OneMain Financial, will begin with the Grande Illumination and Dayton Children’s Parade Spectacular in Lights from 4 to 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23, in downtown Dayton. Courthouse Square will be the center of the evening full of family entertainment.
Activities planned for the Grande Illumination, sponsored by Lite 94.5-FM, include live musical entertainment, carnival rides and games, holiday crafts, horse-drawn wagon rides, and a gingerbread house display. The majority of the activities are free.
A tree-lighting ceremony will be held at 7:45 p.m. on Courthouse Square, followed immediately by the Dayton Children’s Parade Spectacular in Lights. More than 100,000 lights will illuminate the 45-minute parade, which will feature 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 Sandy Gudorf, president of the Downtown Dayton Partnership (DDP). “It is a magical night guaranteed to put you in the holiday spirit.”
The DDP is hosting a coloring contest to mark the Dayton Holiday Festival’s 40th anniversary. Download this coloring contest sheet, color and submit it by Monday, Nov. 19, for a chance to win a ride on the Dayton Holiday Festival’s 40th anniversary float in the parade. One winner will be selected in each of several age groups. Entries will be displayed at the Grande Illumination and Parade event on Nov. 23.
The Dayton Holiday Festival continues throughout the month of December with such activities as the Family Movie Series at The Neon, the Tike’s Shop, Virginia Kettering’s Holiday Train Display, animated window displays and entertainment in the Schuster Center Wintergarden, and more.
The Dayton Holiday Festival is presented by OneMain Financial and sponsored by 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 Follow the DDP on Facebook to keep up with downtown events and news.

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Grande Illumination & Dayton Children’s Parade Spectacular in Lights Activities

Friday, Nov. 23, 2012

  • Grande Illumination ― The tree-lighting ceremony will be held at 7:45 p.m. on Courthouse Square.

  • Dayton Children’s Parade Spectacular in Lights ― 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.

  • Main Stage Entertainment, sponsored by Kroger ― Enjoy live entertainment on the Courthouse Square stage. Performances begin around 4 p.m. Groups scheduled to perform include Spencer Sutherland, the Dayton Gay Men’s Chorus, Dean Simms, Wright State University students and the Schuster Center Celebration Choir.

  • Gingerbread Homes for the Holidays Contest, sponsored by Mix 107.7, Community News Group Dayton and the Downtown Dayton Priority Board ― 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, this is a favorite stop for children. At Time Warner Cable’s “Dial-An-Elf,” 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.

  • Street Fair on Third, sponsored by Fifth Third BankAt 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 Shop, sponsored by ABC 22/FOX 45 and the Oakwood Register ― 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 Shop, managed by Miami Valley Youth Career Services, will be open on selected dates through Dec. 23. For specific times, call 937-212-1983.

  • Junior League of Dayton’s Holiday Hunt ― Kids begin this scavenger hunt by checking in at the Junior League booth on Courthouse Square. Each participant receives a map of participating merchants and a goody bag for collecting their treasures. The Holiday Hunt begins at 4 p.m. and continues until 7 p.m. Tickets are free but limited to the first 1,000 children.

  • 3-D Magic Glasses, sponsored by CareSource ― Look for volunteers passing out these special glasses on Courthouse Square prior to the tree lighting.

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