More than 100 things to do during Urban Nights

Downtown Dayton is preparing to put on its second big bash of the year.

Fall Urban Nights kicks off at 5 p.m. Friday, Sept 12, downtown, the Oregon District, the Wright Dunbar neighborhood and surrounding areas.

“It is a chance for everybody from around the Miami Valley to participate in downtown activities that they would not normally,” said Kelly Sexton, program director of K12 Gallery For Young People. “Everybody opens up their doors and you get a taste of all of downtown in one night.”

See how K12 is participating below.

About 30,000 people are expected to attend Urban Nights, a biannual event coordinated by the Downtown Dayton Partnership. The year’s other Urban Nights occurred in spring. The festivals showcase art, culture and living as well as bars, restaurants and other businesses.

More than 100 venues are participating in the fall event. It includes area residents rappelling down the 27-story KeyBank Tower as part of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Miami Valley’s annual Over the Edge fundraisers and hundreds of police-escorted cyclists riding through the streets of downtown Dayton for Urban Bikes @ Urban Nights.

Five Rivers MetroParks will hold a Mini-Midwest Outdoor Experience on Courthouse Square compete with slacklining, stand-up paddleboarding and pixie bike racing.

Lucy Sanchez, a Five Rivers MetroParks’ special events manager, said it will serve as a preview of the free Midwest Outdoor Experience on Oct. 3 and 4 at Eastwood MetroPark, 1385 Harshman Road in Dayton.

Sanchez said Urban Night should not be missed.

“It just a big outdoor party full of things to do and people to meet and catch up with,” she said. “The whole Courthouse Square area will be a huge recreation scene.”

Downtown Dayton Partnership spokeswoman Valerie Beerbower said free samples, entertainment and discounts will be offered at restaurants, galleries and other businesses.

Participants include Belle of Dayton (free samples of Belle of Dayton Vodka and distillery tours); White Lotus Cafe and Diner (10 percent off food purchases); Strings Attached (“yarn tasting”); Salar Restaurant and Lounge (happy hour pricing and cigars on the back patio); 5th Street Wine and Deli (beer and wine tasting); Westminster Presbyterian Church (church tour and free popcorn and lemonade); Dayton Chess Club (free opportunity to test skills against experienced chess players); Valeria’s Beauty Center and Day Spa (10 to 50 percent off select merchandise in the Bonito shop); Garden Station (bonfire at dusk and free s’mores); Canal Public House (album release party for Nightbeast); Thai 9 (15 percent off food); Wheat Penny ( free eggplant fries 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.) and The Neon (movie poster sale and discounts on wine and beer).

Streets Eats — a restaurant slated to open at 613 E Fifth St. will serve food on its patio, R&B and gospel music will be featured on a stage at Third and Williams streets in the Wright Dunbar and Zoot Theatre Company puppeteers will roam downtown with puppets. Dayton RTA will provide shuttle service.

With so much going on, you’ll need a game plan.

Visit downtowndayton.org for the complete map and program.

FOOD

Three attractions are sure to tempt taste buds.

The Taste of the Miami Valley at RiverScape MetroPark will showcase music and grub from Amar India, Agnes All Natural Grill, Bob Evans’ Centerville location, Brixx Ice Company, Crazy Mango & Bistro, De’Lish, El Meson, Giovanni’s, Hickory River Smokehouse, Lock 27 Brewing, Mamma DiSalvo’s Restorante, McCormick and Schmick’s, Pasha Grill, Ritter’s Frozen Custard of Kettering, Shish Wraps, Smoothie King of Dayton, Sweetum’s, The Dock and Cincinnati’s Wallingford Coffee.

This writer is scheduled to be a judge for the competition Friday 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Taste of the Miami Valley continues 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday. Food tickets are $1 each. Most food items are one to five tickets each.

Visit tasteofmiamivalley.com to see menus.

Musical acts, craft vendors and 15 food trucks will takes part in the Yellow Cab Food Truck Rally, said Brian Johnson, an organizer.

They include Ramen Rickshaw, Cheeky Meat Pies, Kowolski Hots, El Meson, Voodoo Tacos, Pa’s Pork, Courtland’s, Lilia’s Outside Cafe, Shakery Juice Bar, Mohawk Freestyle Grill, Horseless Buggy Eatery, Bella Sorella, East Coast Eatz,

C’est Cheese and Hunger Paynes. There will be coffee from Ghostlight Coffee.

The Grillin’ & Chillin’ Green Open Space Street Party area at 1133 W. Third St. in the Wright Dunbar neighborhood will have a several food vendors and premium beer and spirits from Heidelberg Distributing.

HOT SPOTS

K12 Gallery, 341 S. Jefferson St., will be in the thick of the Urban Nights excitement as the setting of The Art in Action, one of three highlighted “Hot Spots” in conjunction with TEJAS Gallery.

Sexton said there will be chalk drawing in the parking lot, a photo booth food trucks, dance and music. Featured performers starting at 5 p.m. include Miami Valley Dance Company, Bulletproof, SMAG Dance Collective and The Auburn Collective.

There will be a mini “Art-Off” Iron Chef-style art competition to promote K12 Gallery’s sixth annual Art-Off fundraiser set to begin with round one on Sept. 26.

Guess will be invited to help K12 artist Leesa Haapapuro create an indoor installation on columns inside the center.

Sexton said the expansive mural K12 is painting on the outside of the facility is expected to be complete this Fall.

Splatter Zone sponsored by Sinclair Community College in conjunction with the nonprofit young professionals group UpDayton and Dayton Graffiti Task Force in the Westminster Presbyterian Church parking lot at First and Wilkinson streets.

Urban Nights participants will be invited to shoot paintballs at several large boards to be used for community beautification projects. There will be a photo booth, a chalk mural, a disc golf practice basket a beer and Zombie Dogz food truck and The Funnel Cake Trailer.

Participants can have T-shirts and other clothing item “tagged” with the Dayton Inspires logo at the spray paint station. The Dayton International Peace Museum, Valeria’s Beauty Center & Day Spa and others will hold activities. Live music includes Travis Williams, Jamie Suttle Band, and This Side Up.

Live on Five sponsored by Miami Valley Gaming Lebanon on Fifth Street, near the Trolley Stop in the Oregon District.

The WYSO 91.3-FM-sponsored stage will feature Yvette Williams, Bashiri Asad, Cincy Brass and Meghna and the Majority.

Contact this blogger at arobinson@DaytonDailyNews.com or Twitter.com/DDNSmartMouth

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