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She established the Virginia W. Kettering Dayton Holiday Festival Fund with The Dayton Foundation in 1989.
Since 1990, the fund has awarded about $450,000 to promote activities connected with the downtown holiday celebration, according to the Dayton Foundation's website.
Flashback to the Dayton Holiday Festival’s children’s parade on Nov. 29. Thanks to the Downtown Dayton Partnership for sharing! Share your best pics that capture the Dayton holiday spirit on Instagram #daytonholiday
Kettering, the daughter-in-law of famed Dayton inventor Charles Kettering, died Feb. 17, 2003 at age 95.
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Many have complained about the festival's tree not expressly being called a Christmas tree.
Beerbower said it is the holiday festival's tree.
"It is definitely a tree. It is definitely a spruce," she said. "Anything else is up to interpretation."
The tree is installed at Courthouse Square in downtown Dayton.
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It will be lit during the Grande Illumination, the highlight of the Dayton Holiday Festival kickoff. The ceremony begins at 7:45 p.m.
Beerbower said there is no record of the tree officially being called anything but a tree, which is what it is.
"People can call it whatever they want," she said. "They can call it the Easter tree. They can call it a Christmas tree."
Kettering established the holiday festival to give Dayton area children a fun event during the holiday season regardless of religious leanings.
Source: Kamron Taylor, Dayton.com Staff Writer
"Enjoy it however you want," she said. "Make it the event you want."
This year's kickoff event includes live reindeer, on-stage entertainment, a holiday village, a gingerbread home competition, horse-drawn wagon rides, a street fair, adventure activities organized by the Junior League of Dayton, the Tike's Shoppe, a train display, and Wintergarden Woodland window displays.
The window displays from Rike's department store will once again be on display in the Schuster Center at Second and Main streets in downtown Dayton.
Several other activities will happen throughout December.
The Dayton Holiday Festival drew crowds of people to downtown Dayton Friday night. The Grande Illumination and the Dayton Children's Parade were two of the highlights of the annual event. The festivities also included live musical performances, horse drawn wagon rides and carnival rides for children.
Credit: Lisa Powell
Credit: Lisa Powell