Here’s how to hit the 3 biggest festivals this weekend 

Published: Saturday, September 09, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

Same as original with one festival added.

It is that weekend: the one that drives festival-lovers with raging cases of FOMO (the fear of missing out) cray-cray. 

The Dayton area’s largest festivals might not be this weekend, but so many of our most beloved ones are.

>>Your guide to fall festivals

There is no need to despair, fine people. Just throw on your stretchiest pair of stretchy pants and get ready to grub. 

Here is how to do the Beavercreek Popcorn Festival, the Greek Festival and Italian Fall Festa.

SATURDAY

The Beavercreek Popcorn Festival, now in its 29th year, takes place the weekend after Labor Day on Sept. 12 and 13.  (Source: Provided by the Beavercreek Popcorn Festival)

Spend the morning at the Beavercreek Popcorn FestivalThe Popcorn 5K and Fitness Walk are at 8:30 a.m

The festival opens at 10 a.m. with a full day of entertaining starting at 10:30 a.m.

>> 6 treats at the Beavercreek Popcorn Festival

Rather sleep in? Then wait till the afternoon and get yourself a food truck lunch at the Popcorn Fest, after you’ve had a hearty popcorn snack.

Come late/afternoon evening, it will be time to head back to the Greek Festival to get your opa on and tour the inside of The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, or to the Italian Festa to say ciao to all your friends and play some bocce ball.

>> 3 reasons you HAVE to see this beautiful Dayton church on the inside (and this weekend is your chance)

While you’re there, feast on amazing Greek treats!  This year’s edition features two new and exciting food options. The Saganaki — a Greek version of fried cheese — will be a hot treat. If you need to cool off, the intriguing Ouzo Slushies will be at the ready for 2017.

>> Ouzo making a comeback at this year’s Greek Festival  

Saturday night is particularly busy at Italian Festa, but there will be a special stuffed shells dinner if you want to take your chances!

>> 7 reasons you shouldn’t miss the Italian Fall Festa this weekend

SUNDAY

(Tom Gilliam Photography for Dayton.com)

Time to take it easy. You've almost made it.

Do a drive-by of the Greek Festival to shop in the Grecian Boutique, or for last-minute pastries and all the spanakopita and pastitsio you can carry. Say it with me: "baklava."

>> What to eat at the Dayton Greek Festival

The Italian Fall Festa will feature spaghetti and meatballs. Get there by 3 p.m. to catch the spaghetti eating contest for children and adults. The Meatball Madness Run is at 10 a.m.

>> 4 things that will make this Oktoberfest celebration bigger and better this year

Or you can head straight for the Beavercreek Popcorn Festival. The family-oriented festival features 200 booths of crafts and the festival food you are going miss come November. 

MAP OUT YOUR OWN PLAN!

🥙 31st annual Beavercreek Popcorn Festival

Where: Dayton-Xenia Road between North Fairfield Road and Meadow Bridge Drive

When: Saturday, Sept. 9, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.Sunday, Sept. 10, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Cost: Free

Info: WebsiteFacebook | 937-602-CORN | info@beavercreekpopcornfestival.org

🥙 The 59th annual Dayton Greek Festival 

Where: The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 500 Belmonte Park N., Dayton 

When: September 8-10; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sept. 8 and 9, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 10 

Cost: Free admission on from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 8; Admission for the remainder of the weekend is $2 per adult, which includes a free raffle ticket. Free admission for active military, veterans and children 12 and younger. 

Info: Website | (937) 224-0601

🍝 Italian Fall Festa

Where: Bella Villa Hall, 2625 County Line Road, Kettering

When: Sept. 8-10. Friday 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 6-11 p.m.; Saturday noon-11 p.m.; Sunday noon-8 p.m.

Cost: Free, shuttle available from at the nearby Reynolds & Reynolds parking lot

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.

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

5 reasons to do Halloween early at this spooktacular weekend festival

Published: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

We visit the 5th Annual Fairborn Halloween Festival.

Celebrate Halloween a weekend early with this community celebration complete with a zombie walk, Witch’s Brew Beer Garden, parade and costume contests.

Here are 5 reasons to go to the Fairborn Halloween Festival Oct. 20-22.

1. NEW: Witch’s Brew Beer Garden and food trucks

New this year is the Witch’s Brew Beer Garden located in the 5/3 Commons area with Hairless Hare, Warped Wing and Heidelberg Distributors. The Witch’s Brew Beer Garden is open from 4 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. There will be several food trucks/food vendors on site throughout the festival.

>> Halloween events for grown-ups

The 5th Annual Fairborn Halloween Festival ushered in the best of the spooky season on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 21-22, 2016. The downtown area was decked out with creepy displays, with food vendors, rides and music filling a portion of Main Street. Costume contests, bands and performers were also a part of the two-day celebration.(Tom Gilliam)

2. SpooktackularParade and costume contest

The 61st Annual Spooktacular Parade will assemble at the Fairborn YMCA. Costume judging will take place from 6-7 p.m., with the parade proceeding from the “Y” at 7:30 p.m. on Kauffman Avenue and down Main Street to the festival’s main stage. Costume prizes will be awarded for different age groups for youth, plus categories of adult, family, animal, best couple and overall scariest. Trick-or-treat at the booths as well.

>> PHOTOS: Fairborn Halloween Festival 2016

3. Zombie Walk

Join in on a Zombie walk Saturday night. Walkers can pre-register at the Fairborn Chamber of Commerce until Thursday, Oct. 19, or can sign up at 5 p.m. on the day of the event at the Fairborn Senior Center. The cost to walk is $3 if already made-up and $6 to have your makeup done by a make-up artist. Beverages, face painting and “blood” splattering will be available at 5 p.m. The walk will begin at 9 p.m. and travel down Main Street to the front of the festival stage, where the zombies will dance to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

The 5th Annual Fairborn Halloween Festival ushered in the best of the spooky season on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 21-22, 2016. The downtown area was decked out with creepy displays, with food vendors, rides and music filling a portion of Main Street. Costume contests, bands and performers were also a part of the two-day celebration.(Tom Gilliam)

4. Fun and games

Amusement rides, games and crafts will take place Friday alongside the costume judging and parade. Saturday’s festivities start at 11 a.m. and include amusement rides, games, crafts, downtown shopping and food vendors. Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. is the perfect time for families and kids to visit the festival to enjoy amusement rides, downtown shopping, food vendors and crafts.

>> Halloween events for kids

5. Live music

On Friday, local band Beesly takes the stage from 9-11 p.m.

On Saturday, local country music performer Jenna Snow will perform at 3:30 p.m. Rock It 88 (’60s and ’70s rock) will perform at 5:30 p.m. Forsaken will perform classic rock starting at 8 p.m.

>> When is Beggars’ Night in your city?

THE SCHEDULE

Here is the complete schedule of events (subject to change)

FRIDAY, OCT. 20

4-11 p.m. — Amusement Rides

6-7:30 p.m. — Games, crafts and activities at YMCA

6-11 p.m. — Foy’s Haunted Museum

6-7 p.m. — Costume judging at YMCA

7:30 p.m. — Spooktacular Parade

9-11 p.m. — Local Band Beesly

SATURDAY, OCT. 21

11 a.m.-11 p.m. — Amusement rides

1:30-2 p.m. — Richens/Timm Academy of Irish Dance

3:30-4:30 p.m. — Jenna Snow

5:30-7 p.m. — Rock It 88

6-7 p.m. — Trick or Treat at the Booths

6-11 p.m. — Foy’s Haunted Museum

8-9:30 p.m. — Forsaken

9:30 p.m. — Zombie Walk

SUNDAY, OCT. 22

Noon-6 p.m. — Amusement rides

WANT TO GO?

What: 6th annual Fairborn Halloween Festival

When: Friday to Sunday, Oct. 20-22

Where: Downtown Fairborn

Cost: Free admission

More info:WebsiteFacebook