Dayton Holiday Festival to continue on, drive-thru style

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

VIDEO: Countdown to city of Dayton tree lighting

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the 48th year of the beloved Dayton Holiday Festival will look a little different.

This year’s kickoff event will be divided into two nights, with a virtual tree lighting the Friday night after Thanksgiving and a drive-thru parade in downtown Dayton that Saturday.

“We want to continue to bring holiday joy in our community, and we have worked hard to come up with a creative way to continue some of the most cherished holiday traditions in the Dayton community with the Dayton Holiday Festival,” said Sandra K. Gudorf, president of the Downtown Dayton Partnership, in a news release. “Thanks to the ingenuity and dedication of our Dayton Holiday Festival team, we’ve reimagined our traditions in a safe way that we hope our community can celebrate two magical nights of holiday spirit with us.”

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The tradition of gathering a huge crowd of festival-goers downtown for the tree lighting along with a traditional parade will not happen this year as organizers keep in mind the health and safety of the community.

But in its place, the month-long festival will begin with events over two nights starting with a televised, 30-minute broadcast of the Grande Illumination tree lighting ceremony on Friday, Nov. 27, at 7 p.m. on WHIO-TV Channel 7. The Dayton Drive-Thru Children’s Parade in Lights will take place on Saturday, Nov. 28 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. in downtown Dayton.

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What to expect

Crowds gathered for the Grande Illumination of the Christmas tree Friday night, Nov. 25, 2016, during the 2016 Dayton Holiday Festival on Courthouse Square in downtown Dayton.

Credit: Jim Noelker / Staff

Credit: Jim Noelker / Staff

Grande Illumination: The Dayton community tree lighting will still take place at Courthouse Square without the crowd, and the televised broadcast also will showcase musical entertainment from some of the area’s top performers, spotlight area holiday traditions and, according to Downtown Dayton partnership, include several surprises.

When: Friday, Nov. 27, at 7 p.m. on WHIO-TV Channel 7

Santa Claus is always the highlight of the Children’s Parade, the kickoff event each year to the Dayton Holiday Festival at Courthouse Square in downtown Dayton. JIM NOELKER / STAFF

Dayton Children’s Parade: The Dayton Drive-Thru Children’s Parade in Lights will take place along Main Street downtown. Spectators will slowly pass through several blocks of downtown streets in their own vehicles, getting an up-close view of the lineup of stationary festive floats, holiday entertainment, and hundreds of thousands of lights that will be on display along downtown Dayton’s Main Street, according to a DDP release.

When: Saturday, Nov. 28 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. in downtown Dayton.

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