Thousands attend Downtown Dayton’s Christmas tree lighting

Dayton Christmas Tree

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) -Tens of thousands of people kicked off the holiday season at Courthouse Square Friday for the 44th Annual Grand Illumination Holiday Festival.

The tree lights were turned on around 7:45 p.m followed by the Children’s Parade along Main Street.

Food, music and carnival rides were available to kids and family throughout the night. Courtney Deutsch with the Downtown Dayton Partnership says the festival was started by Virginia Kettering almost 44 years ago because she want to bring the community together.

“It was her mission that the entire community would be able to come together regardless of their religious beliefs,” Deutsch said. “So all of the activities are free. It’s just a heartwarming thing to be part of this festival.” provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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