DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Hundreds of people packed Courthouse Square in downtown Dayton Friday night for holiday festivities and to watch the holiday lights turn on in-person this year.

Downtown Dayton is now illuminated with Christmas lights after the return of the Dayton Holiday Festival and Grande Illumination.

“We just came out while the weather’s kind of nice, and just wanted to have a little fun to kick off the holidays,” Karla Creager from Dayton said.

The downtown Dayton holiday festival is a tradition for many of the families in attendance.

“We’ve done this in years past and we’re happy to be out here again,” Jenna Walch, who attended the festival said.

The festival featured live music, a live reindeer, food and rides for the kids to pass the time until the tree lighting.

“We love it, this is what we like to do, we love to see the famlies out here, this, the things we try to bring down here’s something that’s not just for little kids, it’s not just for the adults, this is something that everybody can do,” A&S Party Rental Party Coordinator Gene Wheeler said.

After last year’s event was canceled and moved online because of COVID-19 concerns, this year’s in-person tree lighting brightened the nights of those who were there.

“We’ve come out for the tree lighting the last several years before it wasn’t here last year, of course,” TJ Walch, who attended the festival said.

“It is nice, it is good, we’re glad to be out,” Creager said.

This is the 49th year for the the Dayton Holiday Fesitval, and there will be more holiday events happening in downtown Dayton throughout December.