Beer, brats, food trucks and a few more reasons to go to Oktoberfest

Published: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

Nothing beats a summer festival - and Dayton has more than you could ever dream. Here's 10 of the best ones you won't want to miss. (Tabatha Wharton)

For the 46th time, the Dayton Art Institute will be throwing its annual Oktoberfest fundraising party, adding the unusual component of arts and crafts to the usual German food, music, and beer. 

>> What you need to know about Oktoberfest 2017 at DAI

Scenes from Dayton Art Institute's Oktoberfest, which took place Sept. 24-25, 2016. PHOTOS BY TOM GILLIAM, CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER

In addition to the over 60 visiting artisans displaying and selling their wares, the museum’s permanent collection, including their current special exhibition, “Alphonse Mucha: Master of Art Nouveau,” will be open to patrons.

>> PHOTOS: Dayton Art Institute's Oktoberfest 2016

By day, the vibe at the Dayton Art Institute Oktoberfest is “more chill,” with people perusing the over 60 artisans on the premises. By night, it’s a party. CONTRIBUTED(Contributing Writer)

“The vibe changes from day to night,” said Amy Askins, DAI Oktoberfest Co-Chair. “During the day, it’s more chill. People are more interested in perusing the artisans. At night, it’s packed. It’s a party.”

>> 50 ideas for your Dayton summer bucket list

Scenes from Dayton Art Institute's Oktoberfest, which took place Sept. 24-25, 2016. PHOTOS BY TOM GILLIAM, CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER

A few notable facts about DAI Oktoberfest 2017:

LEDERHOSEN LUNCH AND PREVIEW PARTY (LEDERHOSEN OPTIONAL)

Many people like to start their weekend early, so the DAI Oktoberfest is offering heavily discounted lunch and libations Friday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Brats, metts, tenderloins will be $5, and potato salad and the homemade noodles are $3 (or you combo it with a dessert for $10).

The beer and wine is $5. The beer list includes Miller Lite, Terrapin High 5 IPA, Blue Moon, Crispin Original Apple Cider, Leinenkugel’s Oktoberfest and Harvest Shandy, and Warsteiner’s Dunkel, Oktoberfest, Koenig Ludwig Hefeweiss, and Pilsner beers. Wines are Michelle Sparkling Brut, Dr. L Riesling, Rodney Strong Chardonnay, Save Me San Francisco Cabernet Sauvignon, and Deloach Pinot Noir.

The preview party will also feature these beverages, accompanied by live music from This Side Up, a Dayton-based rock cover band. Askins said that while lederhosen is certainly welcome, it is not mandatory, or even expected.

“We encourage people who work downtown to come out,” she said. “So they’ll be in their ordinary work attire. But a few people will be wearing (lederhosen) for sure.”

>> When the community came together to open the Dayton Art Institute

Scenes from Dayton Art Institute's Oktoberfest, which took place Sept. 24-25, 2016. PHOTOS BY TOM GILLIAM, CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER

THE MAIN EVENT

For the main two-day party, there will be a full live music lineup and art-related activities for children. Most importantly, the one beer truck open for the lederhosen lunch and preview party will be joined by five others, bearing breweries such as Fat Head, Mad Tree, Dogfish, Great Lakes, and popular individual varieties such as New Belgium Fat Tire, Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, and Stone Arrogant Bastard. On the wine side, an additional Riesling, Chardonnay, and two Cabernet Sauvignons will be added, as well as a Pinot Grigio and a Dark Red.

According to DAI organizers, the food options remain fairly consistent from year to year, with popular favorites such as Zombie Dogz and the Associate Board Alumni (the museum’s own) Brats & Metts. The few notable newbies this year are Kona Ice, Nida Thai, and the Drunken Waffle, which features such delicacies as the Reservoir Dog (a waffled corn dog), the Boba Feta Burger (quarter pounder topped with feta cheese and pesto between a waffle), and the Bocheesian Rhapsody (grilled cheddar and Jack cheese between a waffle). 

>> PHOTOS: Dayton Art Institute Art Ball 2017

Scenes from Dayton Art Institute's Oktoberfest, which took place Sept. 24-25, 2016. PHOTOS BY TOM GILLIAM, CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER

ART AT OKTOBERFEST

Every year, the DAI offers an “official mug of Oktoberfest.” According to Chris Schairbaum, DAI Oktobefest Co-Chair, they typically sell over 1,000 of these each year. This year, Bubba Jones Cups, an Ohio potter who specializes in handmade ceramic items for craft breweries and enthusiasts, is designing the mug. There will be 16-ounce and 32-ounce mugs available, along with a few ceramic growlers. A mug purchase comes with a free beer ticket.

According to Askins, they had a larger-than-usual group of artisans applying to participate this year, including Renata Kelly, a wearable art artisan who makes, among other things, a shawl one can wear eight different ways.

“Every year, I go home with a new pair of earrings or a bracelet,” said Askins. “We have a handful of people who work in metal and glass, everything from large sculptures you can hang outside to centerpieces for large rooms to items that can fit in your hand. We have committee heads for all of these areas, and they really went above and beyond as far as recruitment.” 
Scenes from Dayton Art Institute's Oktoberfest, which took place Sept. 24-25, 2016. PHOTOS BY TOM GILLIAM, CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER

WANT TO GO?

What: The Dayton Art Institute Oktoberfest

When: Sept. 22-24, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 7-11 p.m. Friday, noon-11:30 p.m. Saturday, and noon-7 p.m. Sunday

Where: Dayton Art Institute, 456 Belmonte Park N, Dayton

Cost: $3-$7 (general), $55-$95 (preview party), free for children 6 and younger

More Info: 937-223-4ART or www.daytonartinstitute.org/oktoberfest

These EPIC displays from the Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival will take your breath away

Published: Thursday, December 14, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

Chinese Lantern Festival

You’ve never seen holiday lights like THIS before! 

(Well, unless you went last year, of course!)

The Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival has returned to the Ohio Expo Center and State Fairgrounds with brand new light sculptures, more exciting performances and more cultural experiences. 

>> How to go to the Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival this year

It’s definitely worth the drive to take part in this enchanting and immersive cultural experience. 

>> Comedian Kevin Hart is coming to Dayton 

The 200-foot-long Chinese dragon (which, for some context, is longer than four school buses) has returned this year. New this year is a group of color-changing dinosaurs that are 3 stories high. Together, with an additional 35 sets of whole new lights, the lanterns illuminate the fairgrounds. 

>> Popular Dayton brewery announces it’s launching a second label

Still need some convincing? Take a look for yourself. 

Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival is returning to the Expo Center with bigger and brighter lights this winter!(Allegra Czerwinski)

Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival is returning to the Expo Center with bigger and brighter lights this winter!(Allegra Czerwinski)

Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival is returning to the Expo Center with bigger and brighter lights this winter!(Allegra Czerwinski)

Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival is returning to the Expo Center with bigger and brighter lights this winter!(Allegra Czerwinski)

Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival is returning to the Expo Center with bigger and brighter lights this winter!(Allegra Czerwinski)

Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival is returning to the Expo Center with bigger and brighter lights this winter!(Allegra Czerwinski)

Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival is returning to the Expo Center with bigger and brighter lights this winter!(Allegra Czerwinski)

Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival is returning to the Expo Center with bigger and brighter lights this winter!(Allegra Czerwinski)

Believe us when we say to witness these incredible lantern displays in person is far more breathtaking. 

The festival will light up the Natural Resources Park at the Ohio State Expo Center and Fairgrounds, located at 717 E. 17th Ave., Columbus from Nov. 17, 2017 to Jan. 7, 2018. 

It’s open nightly from 5:30-10:00 p.m with the ticket booth opening at 5 p.m. and closing at 9:30 p.m.

Tickets range from $10-15 per person, and will be available for purchase at the festival entrance, or online at ohiolanternfestival.com. There are also family 4-packs available for $40 and a special VIP package for $25 per person. 

Macy’s Day Parade 2017: 5 things to know about the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Published: Thursday, November 23, 2017 @ 10:54 AM
Updated: Thursday, November 23, 2017 @ 10:54 AM

Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade - 5 Fast Facts

There are a number of things associated with Thanksgiving− turkey, pilgrims, big dinners and family. One of them is the tradition of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

RELATED: The least and most affordable places to spend your holiday vacation

Since 1924, Macy's has helped thousands of families celebrate the holidays with its annual parade. 

If you plan to travel to New York to see the spectacle for yourself this year or will be tuning in, here are five things to know about the parade:

Spider-Man at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade in New York.(Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

Where is the parade route and where can I view it?

The parade steps off at 9 a.m. sharp from 77th Street and Central Park West and travels south. Once the procession hits Columbus Circle, it turns east onto Central Park South and marches until turning south again onto 6th Avenue. The parade continues south until reaching 34th Street, where it turns west and ends at 7th Avenue. The last of the balloons and performers touch 7th Avenue around noon.

(Macy’s)

While there is no seating available for the public, anyone is welcome to bring blankets or chairs and find a spot along the parade route at no charge. Since these spots are first-come, first-serve, some families camp out several hours before the parade begins. Plan to arrive early to snag good seats.

Many regular parade-goers recommend avoiding Macy's official parade viewing area on 34th Street, since it's the most crowded. One balloon handler on Reddit suggested that Columbus Circle also might not be a good viewing area, since the winds are more unpredictable and the procession moves more quickly through that spot. He added that the first few blocks south of 77th Street tend to attract smaller crowds because that street is farther from the train stations.

What is included in the parade procession?

In addition to more than two dozen inflated balloons, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade features floats, clowns, performers and marching bands from across the country. The Peanuts gang appear on their float, Snoopy's Doghouse, alongside McDonald's Big Red Shoe, Mount Rushmore, Winter Wonderland by Delta Airlines and more, including Macy's many floats.

Macy's website also lists the participating clown troupes with themes like Breakfast Clowns, Arrsome Pirates and Viking Clowns. Marching bands in the procession include several high schools and colleges, the U.S. Air Force, New York Police Department, and, of course, Macy's Great American Marching Band.

In addition to the parade procession, the event features performances that are held in the official Macy's viewing area on 34th Street. Check the Macy's website for updates to the lineup and more information on these performances.

The Harrison High School Marching Band from Kennesaw performed Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016 in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.(Jim Galloway / AJC)

Is Macy's unveiling anything special this year?

Among Macy's novelty balloons is a special tribute that deserves recognition. As a nod to the 70th anniversary of "Miracle on 34th Street," Macy's is recreating "Harold the Baseball Player," a balloon that was featured in the classic black-and-white film set in New York.

Though the original balloon appeared in full color during the 1946 Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, the recreation is black, white and gray as a throwback to the movie, which was shot on location and featured the parade. 

Can I see the balloons outside of the parade?

All of the balloons are inflated on Wednesday, November 22, and the event is open to the public. Head to Central Park West between 77th Street and 81st Street, near the American Museum of Natural History.

The balloons are inflated between 3 and 10 p.m., but the bulk of them are done in the evening, so it's best to be late to this event.

What if I can't get to New York?

If you can't get to the Empire State for Thanksgiving, there are still plenty of ways to experience the parade in your pajamas. Watch the procession at 9 a.m. EST on NBC to see the balloons, floats and performers without fighting any crowds.

For a behind-the-scenes experience, Macy's has created a series of 360° videos that take the viewer on a tour of its parade studio. See the magic behind the Thanksgiving tradition and learn about how the balloons are made, from sketch to inflation.

How one of Dayton's biggest dinner parties of the year came to be

Published: Tuesday, November 24, 2015 @ 12:00 AM
Updated: Tuesday, November 24, 2015 @ 12:00 AM

In 1969 Arthur Beerman hosted the largest dinner party the city had ever seen: a turkey feast. It was the first Beerman Annual Thanksgiving Day Dinner.

In 1969 Arthur Beerman hosted the largest dinner party the city had ever seen: a turkey feast.

 

It was the first Beerman Annual Thanksgiving Day Dinner.

The first Beerman Thanksgiving dinner for the community was held in 1969 at Wampler Ballarena.. DAYTON DAILY NEWS FILE
 

The founder of Elder-Beerman Stores Corp. had suffered a heart attack earlier that year and received mountains of cards from well-wishers. He returned thanks by starting what became one of Dayton’s most endearing traditions. He put Jeanne Betty Weiner in charge.

 

Beerman had just been discharged from the hospital when Weiner got tasked with the job.

Jeanne Betty Weiner, pictured in 2007, carried out Arthur Beerman's vision to throw a dinner party for the "hungry, the lonely and the needy." DAYTON DAILY NEWS ARCHIVE(Contributed photo)
 

He told her: “You are the only person crazy enough to do what I want,” said Weiner in a 2015 interview, then the store’s radio and television spokeswoman.

 

>>> PHOTOS: Beerman Annual Thanksgiving Day Dinner through the years

 

Weiner got little instruction beyond that the dinner had to be the same as the one Beerman enjoyed at his own house on Thanksgiving.

 

Weiner, who now lives in Sarasota, Florida, said she told Beerman she would be happy to orchestrate his dinner for the “hungry, the lonely and the needy.”

 

She found a caterer who would cook the food, arranged to have the event held at Wampler’s Ball-Arena and found musicians who donated their talent to perform big band music on the holiday. “I wanted it to be a fun party,” she said.

Denise Kelly and her daughter Arlane, 4, and nephews Jamahl and Avon Stokes enjoy the 1990 Beerman Thanksgiving dinner. DAYTON DAILY NEWS ARCHIVE
 

More than 3,000 people attended that first year. School buses picked up the guests in downtown Dayton and drove them to the event where they were welcomed by volunteers. “They were greeted just like they were coming into someone’s home,” said Weiner.

 

More than 1,300 pounds of turkey, 500 pies, 90 gallons of gravy and 90 steam pans of dressing were served that first year. Clowns entertained the children and folks danced to the Hal Harris band.

 

“It hit the national news,” said Weiner. “There was nothing like it in the country. Someone giving a private party for thousands of people was just an amazing thing,” she said.

 

“The dinner was delicious and the music was wonderful,” she said. “It was what he wanted it to be — a good party.

In 1977, Bertha Allen, 88, said she had attended all nine of the Beerman Thanksgiving dinners to date. DAYTON DAILY NEWS ARCHIVE
 

Beerman told Weiner he would continue the Thanksgiving dinner and wanted it to grow. He died the next year but his family and The Beerman Foundation kept the tradition going.

 

In 1988 organizers moved the event to the convention center downtown to reach more people in need. In 2008 the foundation ended the observance after serving more than 200,000 turkey dinners in 40 years.

 

The annual feast found new sponsorship the following year. In recent years volunteers served at each event more than 8,000 guests 2,800 pounds of turkey, one ton each of potatoes, green beans and stuffing and 1,000 sliced pies.

 
“Every Thanksgiving I still think about what a wonderful thing the dinner is. I think it’s remarkable it is still continued today,” said Weiner. “I still think of it as mine and Arthur’s wonderful party.”
 

This weekend is your last chance to go to the Ohio Renaissance Festival

Published: Tuesday, August 30, 2016 @ 2:11 PM
Updated: Tuesday, August 29, 2017 @ 4:09 PM

Nothing beats a summer festival - and Dayton has more than you could ever dream. Here's 10 of the best ones you won't want to miss. (Tabatha Wharton)

It’s an annual festival tradition you have to experience at least once.

This festival will transport you back to the 16th Century in an English village with knights, jousts, swordsmen, pirates, nobles, peasants and jugglers walking past you in timely costumes. 

>> RELATED: 6 of the craziest things you'll see at Ohio Renaissance Festival

The 28th annual Ohio Renaissance Festival runs Saturdays, Sundays, and Labor Day Monday for nine weekends — Sept. 2 through Oct. 29.

Here are 5 things to know about the Renaissance Festival:

Scenes from the Ohio Renaissance Festival, which features 14 stages of entertainment. CONTRIBUTED

1. FUN THEMED WEEKENDS

This 30-acre permanent village has been authentically and historically re-created in the flavor of 16th Century England and has special promotions each weekend.

9/2, 9/3 & 9/4 — Family & Friends Weekend 

Adults are two for the price of one, plus all kids 12 and under get in free Saturday, Sunday, and Labor Day.

9/9 & 9/10 — Time Travelers Weekend 

Dress as your favorite character inspired by a movie, TV series, comic book, sci-fi or fantasy work. Costume contests for adults and kids.

9/16 & 9/17 — Pirates Weekend 

Celebrate International Talk like a Pirate Day with a Pirate Stunt Show, Pirate Play Time and Talk like a Pirate contests (for adults and kids). 

9/23 & 9/24 — Barbarian Invasion Weekend 

Rowdy contests in true barbaric fashion await. Compete in the Test of Strength Contest or the Turkey Leg Eating Contest. 

9/30 & 10/1 — Feast of Fools Weekend 

Fools Olympics and King of Fools contests and more.

10/7 & 10/8 — Highland Weekend 

Grab your kilts and join the village in celebrating Highland heritage as villagers host special events including a Haggis Eating Contest, Knobby Knees Contest, and a traditional Highland Games competition. 

10/14 & 10/15 — Fantasy Weekend 

The Witches of Willy Nilly and the fairies will enchant the village. Enter the Fantasy Costume Contest. 

10/21 & 10/22 — Romance Weekend 

Men in tights? Ladies in bloomers? Oh and you can renew your wedding vows in a free Mass Renewal of Vows Ceremony held at St. Peter’s Chapel. 

10/28 & 10/29 — Tricks or Treats Weekend 

Wear your costumes and bring the little ones for trick or treating around the village. Costume contests for adults and kids and pumpkin decorating for the kids.

>> Festivals we cannot wait for

Dirk and Guido, a.k.a. The Swordsmen, will instruct families on how to impale people like a proper gentleman at the 2017 Ohio Renaissance Festival, opening on Sept. 2. CONTRIBUTED(Contributing Writer)

 

2. ENTERTAINMENT

There is plenty to see on 14 stages offering plenty of entertainment. Don’t miss the hard-hitting action as the Knights of Valour joust three times each day. Comedy and swordplay mesh as The Swordsmen showcase sharp skills and sharp wit. The 65-foot Galleon features a Pirate Comedy Stunt Show twice each day. Strolling musicians include Dylan Robertson, Glass Harmonica, The Flying Dulcimer, Kyle Meadows, Captain John Stout while many a good pub song will be heard in the village pubs.

The festival also offers thrilling human-powered rides, games of skill, warhorse rides, camel rides, the Amazing Maze, and the Tower of London Dungeon of Doom. 

>> Interactive festival guide

3. SHOPPING

The marketplace offers handmade wares including unique items created by world-class artisans. Witness demonstrations of time-honored crafts including glassblowing, blacksmithing, forging, leather tooling, weaving, boot making and more. New to the marketplace this year are original artist Art of Ed Beard Jr, pewter creations by Heekin Pewter and the beautiful floral garlands from The Royal Garland.

Big Turkey legs are only part of the great food found at the Ohio Renaissance Festival. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

4. FOOD

Festival favorites such as giant roasted turkey legs, steak-on-a-stake and bread bowl soups and stews can be found as well as delicious new items. The Chocolate Raven features handmade chocolates and fudge. Archibald Drake’s features an ages old Fish and Chips recipe. KJ’s Cajun Cuisine will have a menu from across the pond and down south. Wash it all down with a wide variety of beers, ales, wines, soft drinks, coffees and teas.

>> Must-try foods at the Ohio Renaissance Festival

5. GROWN-UP FUN

The festival offers daily special events for those 21 and over. The Naughty Bawdy Pub Show features songs and limericks you won’t hear on the streets in an hour-long show. New this year, test your memory and play Willy Nilly Trivia during the Pub Crawl.

WANT TO GO?

What: Ohio Renaissance Festival

When: Sept. 2-Oct. 29 for nine weekends – Saturdays, Sundays & Labor Day

Where: Renaissance Park in Harveysburg. Located just minutes off I-71, exit 45 or I-75, exit 38 on State Route 73 in Warren County.

Cost: Tickets: Adults $22.50; Children $9.50 (ages 5-12); Children under 5 free.

More info: WebsiteFacebook