DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN)- The Grande Illumination and Dayton Children’s parade kick off the holiday season in Dayton.
The event is made possible by the Downtown Dayton Partnership, DP&L and several other sponsors.
According to organizers, 47 years ago, Virginia Kettering wanted to find a way to bring the community together for the holidays.
“[She] decided that she wanted to have a holiday celebration that was really inclusice of everyone in the community, regardless of [their] economic means,” explained Val Beerbower, Economic Development Project Manager with the Downtown Dayton Partnership.
Beerbower says years later, they are still working to be all-inclusive in honor of Virginia Kettering’s wishes by offering free activities that would appeal to people of all ages and backgrounds.
“What’s really great is that now that we’ve been here for so many years, we’re getting generations of Daytonians who are celebrating with grandmas and grandpas and now children and nieces and nephews [and] grandchildren. It’s a really great family friendly event,” said Beerbower.
The giant tree that was illuminated prior to the parade was donated by the Evergreen Children’s Center in Beavercreek. Director of the center Jill Gordon shared why they decided to offer the stately tree to the city of Dayton.
“It had outgrown its space but we saw it as an opportunity to teach kids about sharing,” she said.
The children shared their tree with almost 25,000 people who showed up for Friday night’s festivities.
Now that the official kickoff has been completed, there will be more holiday activities throughout the next several weeks in Dayton.
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