DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Dozens of volunteers are working to repair parade floats that were vandalized in time for the annual Dayton Holiday Festival.
According to officials, all 17 of the Downtown Dayton Partnership’s floats for the holiday parade were vandalized in some way, with lights and paper torn off, displays knocked over and all of the generators stolen.
The vandalism was discovered over the summer, according to Sandy Gudorf, president of the Downtown Dayton Partnership.
The Dayton Holiday Festival, which has been a local tradition for more than 40 years, is typically held the day after Thanksgiving in downtown Dayton.
“People put a lot of time and effort into creating some really unique floats that are supposed to be for the whole community to enjoy, so it’s just very disappointing,” said Monnie Bush, founder and CEO of The Victory Project, a Dayton after-school program for boys ages 12 to 18.
Students from The Victory Project have helped clean and prepare the floats for Dayton’s holiday parade the past two years, Bush said. But this year, they’ll help with numerous repairs, he added.
“With everything that this community has been through and such, we’re not going to say we’re not going to do a children’s parade,” Gudorf said.
Roughly 30 to 40 volunteers worked on the floats this past Saturday, she said.
“We’ve had lots of different organizations donate tools and things that were taken,” Gudorf said. “We feel really optimistic that we can get the majority of them all fixed up and all lit up for the parade.”
“There’s always an opportunity to take something negative and turn it into a positive,” Bush said. “And so I’m hoping that the community at large will see that these are valuable pieces of our community as far as the floats go.”
The floats have since been moved to a different facility for storage, Gudorf said.
The Downtown Dayton Partnership is still looking for volunteers to help repair the floats. If you’re interested in signing up, click here.