Where to find Veterans Day meals and deals in the Miami Valley

Published: Tuesday, October 25, 2016 @ 6:00 AM
Updated: Friday, November 10, 2017 @ 10:22 AM

World War II veteran William Spriggs, 89, of the 83rd Infantry Division and who took part in the invasion of Normandy, searches for fallen comrades in the Normandy American Cemetery June 5, 2014 in Colleville-sur-Mer, France. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Win McNamee
World War II veteran William Spriggs, 89, of the 83rd Infantry Division and who took part in the invasion of Normandy, searches for fallen comrades in the Normandy American Cemetery June 5, 2014 in Colleville-sur-Mer, France. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)(Win McNamee)

On Veterans Day, Saturday Nov. 11, many restaurants and other businesses are showing their appreciation by offering deals to veterans and active-duty military men and women, including free food and free services. 

Here are some of the establishments in the Dayton area that have reached out to us to let us know they are offering  Veterans Day deals. Please send information about your deal to mark.fisher@coxinc.com with a copy to contact@dayton.com.

We will be updating this story as we receive information about Veterans Day deals. Some businesses are extending their offers through the weekend or moving them up to the day before Veterans Day. Proof of service is generally required; the forms of proof of service vary by business. 


Primanti Bros. Restaurant and Bar

Primanti Bros. is offering a free classic “Almost Famous” sandwich –- grilled meat, Provolone cheese, sweet-and-sour slaw, French fries and tomatoes, between slices of thick-cut Italian bread -– free for all veterans and active duty military, all day on Nov. 11, at all locations, with no stipulations. Customers will be asked to provide a military ID.

Location: near the Mall at Fairfield Commons in Beavercreek


As part of a Hometown Heroes Celebration, veterans can enjoy a free breakfast on Nov. 11.

Locations: in the Cornerstone of Centerville retail center and in West Chester

O’Charley’s Restaurant & Bar

O’Charley’s will honor all active duty and veteran military personnel on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, with a free meal from its “$9.99er Menu” by showing their military IDs. In addition to the meal, veterans will receive a $5-off-any-$20-purchase voucher for their next visit.

Locations: Near the Dayton Mall in Miami Twp., Miller Lane in Butler Twp., Miiddletown, Springfield, West Chester

Graeter’s Ice Cream

Graeter’s will give away a free sundae to veterans on Veterans Day Nov. 11, which also happens to be National Sundae Day, a Graeter’s spokeswoman said. 

Locations: Oakwood, Centerville, Beavercreek, Mason, Liberty Twp.

Dunkin’ Donuts

On Nov. 11, veterans and active military personnel can enjoy a free donut at Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants nationwide, no purchase necessary.

Locations: Multiple shops throughout the region.

Rapid Fired Pizza

The Kettering-based pizza chain is offering a free pizza to veterans and active-duty military with ID on Nov. 11. 

Locations: Multiple restaurants throughout the region

Sweeney’s Seafood Bar & Grill

The Centerville restaurant will offer active military and veterans with ID a complimentary Sweeney’s Seafood Fish & Chips with house-made coleslaw from 4 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 11. The offer is not available for carry-out.  Reservations are recommendned at (937) 291-3474. 

Location: 28 W. Franklin St., Centerville

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers

Freddy’s is doing something a little different. It will offer a coupon for a free combo meal to all veterans and active-duty military on Veterans Day, and that coupon can be redeemed anytime through Nov. 30.

Locations: Centerville and West Chester

Bob Evans

Bob Evans Restaurants is celebrating Veterans Day this year by offering the choice of one of six free meals to veterans and active duty military personnel. 

Veterans and active duty military personnel will have the choice of select from among these breakfast (available all day), lunch, and dinner menu items: Stack of Hotcakes (Buttermilk or Multigrain; Fresh Baked Brioche French Toast; Country Biscuit Breakfast; Mini Sampler Breakfast;  Farm Boy Sandwich; or Country Fried Steak Dinner.

Locations: 7400 Miller Ln. | 1285 Woodman Dr. | 1202 S Main St. | 1850 E Dorothy Ln. | 7670 Brandt Pike | 220 Byers Rd. | 2648 Colonel Glenn Hwy | 7115 Far Hills Ave. | 5525 Wilmington Pike | 3409 Seajay Drive and others. 

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.


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 breathtaking holiday light display is celebrating 25 years -- and it returns this weekend

Published: Thursday, November 23, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

Millions of colorful bulbs have transformed Countryside Park in Washington Twp. into a holiday wonderland for 25 seasons.

Woodland Lights celebrates its 25th anniversary season with the lights and sights people have come to love and a month of holiday activities. 

>> 11 photos of Woodland Lights that prove its one of the area’s best traditions

Woodland Lights in Washington Twp. is one of the Dayton area’s signature holiday displays. CONTRIBUTED(Contributing Writer)

To mark the occasion, every night of this year’s festival includes carriage rides, amusement rides, live animals, concessions and activities for kids. Woodland Lights offers a walk through eight acres of lights sparkling along a wooded path and a whimsical view of illuminated characters preparing for the holidays.

>> These two Dayton restaurants will be open during special ‘holiday lunch’ hours

Santa and his elf welcome children nightly through Dec. 23 to their historic log cabin that’s decorated for the holidays. Costumed characters visit many nights and local arts organizations take the stage on weekends. 

>> This breathtaking holiday tradition is marking its 25th year, and it’s STILL a must-see

Get in the holiday spirit at the Woodland Lights annual display of twinkling lights in Washington Twp. CONTRIBUTED


Cost: Tickets are available at the gate, any Washington Twp. recreation facility or online. $8 for adults. Free for children 2 and younger. 

When: Opens for the season Nov. 25. The holiday lighting festival is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 3 and nightly Dec. 8-30, except Dec. 23 and 24.

Hours: 6-9 p.m.

Location: Countryside Park on the Washington Township Recreation Campus, 895 Miamisburg-Centerville Road, Washington Twp.

Info:  Website

Dayton Music Insider: Thanksgiving Guide to Live Music

Published: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 @ 2:51 PM

Normally I would start off this week’s blog by telling you to go see the annual  Such a Night: The Last Waltz performance at Dayton Art Institute, but both performances are sold out already! Congrats to the organizers and musicians! And to my dear friends, please listen to me when I tell you in September to buy your ticket!

Don’t have a ticket to that amazing event? Never fear! There are TONS of great shows happening all over the Miami Valley this weekend, so get into some fun with you friends & family this holiday weekend!

Wednesday November 22nd

Looking for an enjoy show to check out with friends before Thanksgiving festivities begin? Check out the lovely  Blue Note Bistro  in Miamisburg, from 5:30-9:30pm, for some jazz with Bruce Wilkes. 

One of my absolute favorite shows of the weekend is the annual   Werksgiving  concert at  Oddbody’s Music Room. These home town boys, turned national touring act are known for their electrifying dance parties. They will have you grooving all night long! $15 day of show. Doors 8pm. Show 8:30pm. 18+

There’s a big ole group party going on at Hannah’s  on Ludlow downtown. They are inviting musicians, singers and poets for a pop up jam session, dubbed  Danksgiving Party with LuvLocz. Fun goes from 9pm-1am. 21+

Come out to Oscar’s on Thanksgiving Eve and get your gobble on. Get yourself liquored up and ready to handle those relatives that drive you crazy. Or if you love being around them, bring everyone out for a celebration and make some new memories. The Key Concepts, Neo-American Pioneers, and BENT will provide the musical backdrop for the evening and Oscar’s will provide the non-turkey & dressing fixings and a variety of libations. Show starts at 9PM. $5 cover. 21+

Friday November 24th

At Blind Bob’s, it’s another Black Friday Showcase for all those heavy metal music fans out there! The showcase features a fully stocked line-up with   Back Stabbath Maharaja,   Hexadiode and  Big Lightning.  9pm. $5 cover. 21+

I’m excited to check out soul singer Bashiri Asad  (Indianapolis) at Trolley Stop  on Friday night. He’s got an old school vibe that’s great for groups with varied musical tastes, or a swanky date night! 9:30pm. $5 cover. 21+

Hannah’s is offering a free show for all of you who have spent all your money shopping today! A special drum only set kicks off the night at 9:30pm, then at 10pm enjoy original tunes from  The Willy Clark Band
and then The DayDreamers at midnight. Free! 21+

Another early night for jazz fans at  Blue Note Bistro in Miamisburg, which features two shows: Danny Voris at 5pm, followed by the Brad Myers Trio at 8pm.

Yellow Springs folks, make sure you check out the Stark Folk Band  (on at 11pm) who will be playing a double set of old faves and new tunes at Peach’s Grill  on Friday night. The night starts off at 10pm with The Whetstone’s debut performance!  Free show! 21+

North of town, there is another dynamic rock show at Oscar’s  in Vandalia , featuring   RIND  (Rock Is Not Dead),   FOUNDING FATHERS, and   Kuber. They perform a mix of rock, new wave, indie and punk. Enjoy and rock on! 9pm-2am. $5 cover.

I know tons of jam and hard rock fans will be heading south for the Glostik Willy show at Old Crow for Black Friday. They will be joined with  Eyeris Wide, High Altitude, and  The Ram Ones. Cover: $7 (10% goes back to Chubby’s family. Chubby was a music super fan who passed recently, and helped start this annual show!) Doors: 8:00 p.m. Show Time: 9:00 p.m.

Saturday November 25th

It’s  Small Business Saturday! Make sure to support your local small businesses, especially those record stores. (Music is always the perfect gift, in my humble opinion!)

Skeleton Dust Records  downtown Dayton is also featuring live-in store performances throughout the day with Noisteria Emission  (abstract modular electronics from Dayton) and Andy Gabbard  (from Buffalo Killers) will be providing live in-store performances throughout the day as well. 12-8pm.

Hard rock / metal fans are in for another great night of music at Blind Bob’s with Neon WarshipWild SavagesGrand Mammoth, and   Bison Machine.   Very cool! 9pm. $5 cover. 21+

An eclectic show is happening at Oregon Express on Saturday with Rich Man’s TrickWhiskey For Kids, and Earth TongueThis could be RMT’s last show for awhile, so catch them while you can! Show at 10pm. $5 cover. 21+

Gin-Soaked Angels  is planning on a raging party to kick off the holidays on Saturday night when they take over  Hannah’s on Ludlow. Music kicks off at 10pm!

Metal fan alert: Whitechapel, with special guests Carnifex, Rings of Saturn, Entheos, and So This Is Suffering are going to be rockin’ out at Oddbody’s Music Room. This is a huge show, so make sure you get your tickets ASAP! $30 advance, $35 day of show. 18+ Doors 5pm, Show 5:30pm.

Dead Tuth has had enough. They explain that they’ve exceeded their expectations with their band and are deciding to call it quits. Come see their final performance with special guests from the Queen City The ZG’S and Dayton’s own  Dipspit. All this is happening at  Oscar’s Bar in Vandalia. Doors at 9, music at 10.

South of town, jazz fans at  Blue Note Bistro can enjoy music at 2 times:  Danny Voris at 5pm, followed by the Brad Myers Trio at 8pm.

Road trip! If you are up for a bit of a drive, don’t miss  The Big Damn Tryptophan Jamone of Dayton music’s traditions that has transplanted to  Octave,  a very cool new venue in Covington, KY. This year again features  Johnny Neel,  Chris Houser,  Bob Dellaposta and many other amazing musicians will be jammin together! Doors 8pm. Music 9pm. Tickets $8 at the door.

Happy Thanksgiving to all! And  as  always, thank you for supporting live music!

Your Dayton Music Insider,

Libby Ballengee

Note to Readers:  The information above is for November 23rd-25th 2017. This is a listing of interesting shows in the Miami Valley region, but is by no means definitive. There are always lots of shows, and so much space and time to touch upon them all. If I don’t list a price, I’m not sure what it is. Typically cover charges for local shows are $5. Click hyperlinks to find out more about the bands, venues, and events, including start times, directions, and ticket information.  You can keep up with my live music adventures on  Facebook,  Instagram, or  Twitter. Cheers!

Live reindeer, new pedal wagon shuttle add to the fun at this beloved holiday kickoff event

Published: Wednesday, November 23, 2016 @ 10:53 AM
Updated: Monday, November 20, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

WATCH: The 2015 Grande Illumination kicks off the Christmas season downtown
WATCH: The 2015 Grande Illumination kicks off the Christmas season downtown

Downtown Dayton will celebrate 45 years of the holiday season during the month-long Dayton Holiday Festival, presented by DP&L, which kicks off with the Grande Illumination and Dayton Children’s Parade Spectacular in Lights from 4 to 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 24, 2017. 

Courthouse Square will be the center of the evening full of family entertainment.

>> Tree illuminations across the region


For the second year, there will be a photo station featuring live reindeer. The exhibit includes a sleigh and reindeer that create the perfect backdrop for holiday cards or photos.


The popular bicycle pub crawl companies are rolling out from 6-8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays in December as the Sugarplum Shuttle, presented by PNC Bank. 

Guests — including kids — can hop on the bikes and ride to designated stops in the Oregon District, RiverScape MetroPark and the Schuster Center. 

Enjoy complimentary hot chocolate on this non-alcoholic shuttle service as riders pedal near downtown’s major holiday attractions.

>> 10 must-see holiday light displays


Activities planned for the day include the Grande Illumination tree-lighting ceremony, live musical entertainment, carnival rides and games, holiday crafts, horse-drawn wagon rides and a gingerbread house display. The suggested cost for wagon rides is $1 per person, but all other activities are free.

Courthouse Square was crowded for The 42nd Annual Grande Illumination and Dayton Children’s Parade on Friday night. TY GREENLEES / STAFF / FILE(Staff Writer)

TREE LIGHTING AND PARADE: The tree-lighting ceremony will take place at 7:45 p.m. on Courthouse Square, followed immediately by the Dayton Children’s Parade Spectacular in Lights. Thousands of lights will illuminate the 45-minute parade, featuring a variety of festive floats, entertainers, animals and several surprises.

“The Grande Illumination and Dayton Children’s Parade Spectacular in Lights is a great night for the entire family to come downtown,” said Sandra Gudorf, president of the Downtown Dayton Partnership. “It is a magical night guaranteed to put you in the holiday spirit.”

The Dayton Holiday Festival continues throughout the month of December with such activities as the Family Movie Series at The Neon, the Tike’s Shoppe, Virginia Kettering’s Holiday Train Display, animated window displays and entertainment in the Schuster Center Wintergarden, and more.

The Williams family played in the life-sized snow globe at The 42nd Annual Grande Illumination and Dayton Children’s Parade on Friday night. TY GREENLEES / STAFF(Staff Writer)


Grande Illumination ― The tree-lighting ceremony will take place at 7:45 p.m. on Courthouse Square. 

Dayton Children’s Parade Spectacular in Lights ― More than 100,000 lights will illuminate the floats and other units in the parade, which starts immediately following the Grande Illumination. The route: West Second Street to Main Street, south on Main Street to Fourth Street, and then west on Fourth Street. 

Live reindeer photo station — Take a family photo with a sleigh and live reindeer. It’s unique and fun way to capture your memories of the Grande Illumination and Parade! 

Main Stage Entertainment ― Enjoy live entertainment on the Courthouse Square stage. Performances begin around 4 p.m. The schedule is: 

  • 4-4:20 p.m. — Miami Valley Music Men 
  • 4:40-5:00 p.m. — Deron Bell Band 
  • 5:10-5:30 p.m. — Berachah Valley 
  • 5:40-6:05 p.m. — Dayton Gay Men's Chorus 
  • 6:20-6:55 p.m. — Alexis Gomez Trio 
  • 7:10-7:45 p.m. — Dayton Celebration Chorus 

Gingerbread Homes for the Holidays Contest ― Contest entries will be on display in the Old Courthouse. The top amateur and professional houses each will receive $500! Winners will be announced on the Main Stage before the Grande Illumination. 

The Holiday Village ― Located in the lobby of the Kettering Tower from 4-9 p.m., this is a favorite stop for children, featuring free crafts and games for kids and Mrs. Virginia Kettering’s train on display. Kids also can make holiday arts and crafts and play games. The Holiday Village Stage schedule includes live performances. 

Street Fair on Third ― At this holiday street fair, free rides will be set up on Third Street between Main and Ludlow streets. 

Horse-Drawn Wagon Rides ― From 4 to 7:30 p.m., wagons will pick up passengers at the corner of Second and Main streets for a ride through downtown. Rides are $1 per person. Lines can be long, so come early. 

The Tike’s Shoppe ― For decades, children in Dayton have been able to shop for their loved ones in a store that’s just their size. The shop will be located in the Schuster Center Wintergarden near the entrance at Ludlow and Second streets, and will officially open the day of the Grande Illumination. The Tike’s Shoppe will be open on selected dates through Dec. 23. For specific times, call (937) 301-8349. 

Junior League of Dayton’s Holiday Adventure ― Kids will go on an adventure around the festival footprint. Children who visit all the stops will receive a free book. 

Magic Glasses ― Look for volunteers passing out these special glasses on Courthouse Square prior to the tree lighting.