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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

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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.


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


(Tom Gilliam Photography for

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. 


🥙 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 |

🥙 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

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More than music: Dayton Celtic Fest adds a lot more Irish flavor

Published: Monday, July 23, 2018 @ 7:00 AM

A full weekend of food, entertainment, music and vendors took over Riverscape MetroPark in downtown Dayton during the 2018 Dayton Celtic Festival, July 27-29. STAFF FILE PHOTO
A full weekend of food, entertainment, music and vendors took over Riverscape MetroPark in downtown Dayton during the 2018 Dayton Celtic Festival, July 27-29. STAFF FILE PHOTO(HANDOUT)

Irish music is always the big draw at the Dayton Celtic Festival. However, the event — presented by United Irish of Dayton at RiverScape MetroPark in Dayton, Friday through Sunday, July 27 through 29 — continues to expand its other offerings.

The free festival features workshops, vendors, food, beer, children’s activities and Sunday Mass. Returning favorites include the Bushmills Irish Whiskey tastings at 5 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, the Celtic breakfast from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday and Sunday Mass at 10 a.m. Special guests include authors Cindy Thomson and Terence O’Leary and storyteller Cathy Jo Smith.

>> PHOTOS: Dayton Celtic Festival 2017

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“The Celtic breakfast and Gaelic Mass are big staples every year,” said Shawn Kain, who has handled the festival’s marketing and publicity since 2004. “We’re fortunate to have the Mass, which is set in Gaelic and English. Whenever they say anything in Gaelic, they come back and say what it means in English because Gaelic is a pretty complex language.

Heron Valley and Rory Makem (pictured) are making their first appearances at Dayton Celtic Festival at RiverScape MetroPark in Dayton, Friday through Sunday, July 27 through 29. CONTRIBUTED(Contributing Writer)

“The Celtic breakfast is always good on Sunday morning,” he continued. “We try to give people traditional festival food, but we also have a lot of authentic Celtic food and beverages to give it that Irish flavor.”

Workshops include Baking with Bill Evans of Evans Bakery, an Introduction to the Gaelic Language and Introduction to Irish Music.

>> Imitation game: 6 tribute acts you don’t want to miss at the Fraze

“We’ve done a lot to expand the cultural side of the festival,” Kain said. “That has been the biggest change this year. We have dancing, history, genealogy, the Irish wolfhounds and all the different workshops. The merchandise is big, too, because you get an opportunity to find stuff in person that you can normally only get online.

Headliners such as Gaelic Storm (pictured) and Scythian return to Dayton Celtic Festival at RiverScape MetroPark in Dayton, Friday through Sunday, July 27 through 29, where the festival regulars will share the stage with first-time acts, Heron Valley and Rory Makem. CONTRIBUTED(Contributing Writer)

“Musicians from some of the participating bands will be helping with the Introduction to Irish Music workshop,” Kain continued. “It’s nice because the bands are not just there singing, they help out with the festival, too. They take part in it, try to promote it and get people to support the vendors. It’s a team effort, which is really neat. They’re real down to earth and they like to mingle with the crowd. We really appreciate them. We’re lucky to have them.”

>> 7 AMAZING festivals we just cannot wait for

This year’s lineup includes the festival debut of Scottish group Heron Valley and Irish artist Rory Makem, along with returning headliners Gaelic Storm, Scythian, Socks in the Frying Pan, the Fitzgeralds and We Banjo 3. The festival also features local talent such as Dulahan, Father Son and Friends, the Drowsy Lads and Jameson’s Folly.


What: United Irish of Dayton presents Dayton Celtic Festival with Gaelic Storm, Scythian, Socks in the Frying Pan, the Fitzgeralds, We Banjo 3, Heron Valley, Rory Makem and others

Where: RiverScape MetroPark, 111 E. Monument Ave., Dayton

When: 5:30 to 11 p.m. Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, July 27 through 29

Cost: Free

More info: 937-372-9788 or

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7 things that will WOW you this weekend at the Ohio Challenge Balloon Festival

Published: Monday, July 17, 2017 @ 1:00 PM
Updated: Thursday, July 12, 2018 @ 11:47 AM

The Ohio Challenge 2018

Prepare to be wowed.

>> WEATHER UPDATES: How the weather is impacting the Ohio Challenge this weekend

A giant crab and a giant gator are among the more than 30 balloons set to take flight during The Ohio Challenge Balloon Festival and Team Fastrax Warrior Weekend to Remember. The annual event will return to Middletown’s Smith Park/Middletown Regional Airport this weekend.

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“This is a good, positive event for the city. Everyone loves to see the balloons. There’s always that ‘Wow’ factor. Spectators often wonder ‘How did they get up there?’ ‘How do they stay up there?’ and they follow them. It’s so cool,” said Kathy Stites, event manager, The Ohio Challenge.

>> Watch time-lapse video of these balloons inflating and taking flight

The Gator is one of the special balloons that will be featured at the Ohio Challenge hot air balloon festival this weekend in Middletown. CONTRIBUTED(Contributing Writer)

Presented by, the event runs Friday, July 20, and Saturday, July 21, from 4 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. The festival includes balloon competitions and balloon glows, fireworks, skydiving demonstrations, a laser light show, tethered balloon rides and live entertainment. There will also be carnival rides for children from Murray Brothers Amusements, Inc., expanded food booth offerings, as well as 25 arts and crafts vendors on site.

This is the 16th year for the festival, which has grown into one of the area’s largest, signature summer events. More than 300 volunteers come together to support the festivities. 

Here are six things to do, see and experience at The Ohio Challenge:

Competition balloons decorate the sky during the Ohio Challenge Hot Air Balloon Festival at Smith Park in Middletown in 2016. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF(Contributing Writer)

1. Hot air balloon launches, rides and competition

Check out launches of colorful balloons of all shapes and sizes.

Mass balloon launches and special shapes will take to the skies on Friday and Saturday from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Beyond the visual spectacle of bright colorful balloons in the sky, The Ohio Challenge is a sanctioned hot air balloon competition. This year over 30 participants will compete for the Ohio Challenge Trophy and to qualify for a national tournament.

This little lady walks on a partially inflated balloon during the Fluff & Puff event at the 2016 Ohio Challenge Hot Air Balloon Festival at Smith Park in Middletown. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF(Contributing Writer)

Experience the fun yourself with tethered hot air balloon rides for $10 and $15 or try out the Fluff & Puff balloon walk-through as well.

Call 513-932-3552 to arrange full paid rides.

All balloon activity is wind and weather permitting. Admission to the park is free during morning hours for those who would like to see the Saturday and Sunday morning balloon flights.

>> PHOTOS: Ohio Hot Air Balloon Challenge 2016

Claw D — The Crazy Crab piloted by Zach Burgess of Monroe will be one of the special balloons featured at this year’s Ohio Challenge. CONTRIBUTED(Contributing Writer)

2. Night balloon glow

Balloons can look even more amazing at night. This year’s balloon glows will take place Friday and Saturday from 9:15 p.m. to 9:45 p.m.

3. Fireworks

A fireworks display sponsored by Start Skydiving will start around 10:15 p.m. Saturday. 

4. Skydiving

Team Fastrax skydiving performances will take place at 5:30 p.m., 8 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. Friday and again at 4 p.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m., 8:15 p.m. and 10 p.m. Saturday.

Rides are part of the fun at the Ohio Challenge Hot Air Balloon Festival. These festival-goers were photographed during the 2016 event at Smith Park in Middletown. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF(Contributing Writer)

5. Festival fun

Beyond the balloons, you’ll find plenty of family fun all weekend long.

The event will include outdoor concerts, arts and crafts, festival foods and carnival rides.

“There’s so much to do. There’s a little something for everybody. It’s a good family-oriented festival in the park. There’s a lot of good food, and a lot of great vendors. It’s a good place to be,” said Sean Askren, a Middletown resident, pilot committee member and FAA liaison.

This is one of the special balloons that will be featured at the Ohio Challenge hot air balloon festival this weekend in Middletown. CONTRIBUTED(Contributing Writer)

There will be live music on Friday night with Broken Road, a Rascal Flatts tribute band and on Saturday evening featuring The Skallywags from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Main Stage activities, including opening remarks and the National Anthem, will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. A Wounded Warrior Honoring Ceremony, recognizing Purple Hearts and Gold Stars, will be held on Saturday from 7 to 8 p.m.

For a complete list of events and activities, visit the Ohio Challenge website.

>> 7 festivals to add to your summer bucket list

Competition balloons fly over Hook Field during the 2016 Ohio Challenge Hot Air Balloon Festival at Smith Park in Middletown. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF(Contributing Writer)

6. Car show

The show featuring 125 to 150 cars will be held on Saturday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Registration for the car show is 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Cost to register is $15. Dash Plaques are guaranteed to the first 100. A number of awards will be given.

7. Balloons & Breakfast

Watch hot air balloons before enjoying a hearty breakfast of pancakes, sausage, fruit, coffee and juice from 8-10:30 a.m. Saturday. The breakfast supports the Middletown High School girls soccer team. The cost is a suggested donation of $5.

Want to go?

WHAT: The Ohio Challenge Balloon and Festival Team Fastrax Warrior Weekend to Remember

WHEN: Friday, July 20 and Saturday, July 21. The festival is open 4-10:30 p.m. Friday and 7 to 11 a.m. Saturday and again from 4-10:30 p.m. Saturday. Balloon activity only from 7-9:30 a.m. Sunday.

WHERE: Smith Park, 500 Tytus Ave and Verity Parkway in Middletown

ADMISSION: During regular evening festival hours, walk-in admission is $5 per adult (children ages 12 and under are free), $15 per car load (which includes a free shuttle ride and admission for all in the vehicle). Vehicles should enter the festival grounds via Middletown Regional Airport, 1800 Germantown Road.


Hot air balloons are inflated for attendees to get a closer look during the Ohio Challenge Hot Air Balloon Festival at Smith Park in Middletown in 2016. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF(Contributing Writer)

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There’s a NEW festival with music, beer, food coming to the Great Miami River this summer

Published: Tuesday, May 08, 2018 @ 10:57 AM
Updated: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 9:23 AM

Adventures on the Great Miami hosted its second annual Great Miami River Races along with the Treasure Island River Fest, both on Saturday, June 23. Packed with a full day of fun, this river-centric event hasd tons to do for the family. PHOTO / TOM GILLIAM PHOTOGRAPHY
Tom Gilliam
Adventures on the Great Miami hosted its second annual Great Miami River Races along with the Treasure Island River Fest, both on Saturday, June 23. Packed with a full day of fun, this river-centric event hasd tons to do for the family. PHOTO / TOM GILLIAM PHOTOGRAPHY(Tom Gilliam)

A new festival and concert is coming to the Dayton-area this summer. 

>> What to know before you go to the new Adventures Fest music fest on the river this weekend

Adventures Fest will take place July 21 and will feature a roster of Ohio musicians for a day of fun and music along the Great Miami River. 

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>> NEW FESTIVAL: It’ll be worth the drive to go to this magical Harry Potter event

Young Heirlooms will be among the headline acts at the new Adventures Fest along the Great Miami River near Tipp City on July 21, 2018.(CONTRIBUTED)

Jessica Lea Mayfield, Young Heirlooms and Lioness will be headlining the event. This Pine Box, Shrug, M Ross Perkins, Sylmar and Neo American Pioneers are also on the lineup. 

>> Adventure trails in Ohio: Here’s how to explore off-the-beaten path

Jessica Lea Mayfield, a singer from Kent, Ohio, headlines of the new Adventures Fest at Adventures on the Great Miami in Tipp City on Saturday, July 21. CONTRIBUTED(Contributing Writer)

Ticket are $20 in advance and $30 the day of. Children under 4 are free. The festival is presented by Adventures on the Great Miami.

Camping and river trips are available for an additional fee. Beer and food will be sold on site. 

>> Dayton Music Insider: Miami Valley Music Fest & Adventures Fest

“We couldn’t be more excited for the bill that came together for this first Adventures Fest,” David Obenour, concert promoter said in a press release. “There are so many amazing Ohio artists now and when it became apparent that the stars would align for Jessica Lea Mayfield, we knew we had found our headliner. Everyone that day is going to be great though and being able to see them all riverside at Adventures makes the day even better.”

>> A roundup of the best places to see live, local music in Dayton

Lioness will be among the headline acts at the new Adventures Fest along the Great Miami River near Tipp City on July 21, 2018.(CONTRIBUTED)

Want to go?

WHAT: Adventures Fest

WHEN: July 21 from 10 a.m. to midnight

WHERE: Adventures on the Great Miami, 1995 E. Ross Road, Tipp City

TICKETS: Eventbrite

INFO: Facebook

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7 AMAZING festivals we just cannot wait for

Published: Tuesday, April 18, 2017 @ 11:21 AM
Updated: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 @ 5:20 PM

The Ohio Challenge 2018

There are festivals and fairs here, there and everywhere. If you can’t get to them all, you can at least try to get to the best. Here are 10 of our favorite festivals happening this summer and into the fall.

Mark your calendars and prepare to eat, drink, sing and dance your way through the Dayton region.

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Sean Askren's hot air balloon "Bohica" and Doug Grimes' "The Gator" balloon were inflated during a media preview Thursday, July 20 for The Ohio Challenge Hot Air Balloon Festival at Smith Park in Middletown. The event runs Friday through Sunday. For more information visit NICK GRAHAM/STAFF


Prepare to be wowed. This sanctioned hot air balloon competition will feature a race of 30 participants for the glory, the coveted Ohio Challenge Trophy and a bid to attend the nationals. There will be night balloon glows at dusk, a car show, balloon rides, fireworks, outdoor concerts, food vendors, arts and crafts and carnival rides.

WHEN: Friday and Saturday, July 20-21

WHERE: 2301 Wedekind Drive, Middletown


COST: $5 for adults, children under 12 are free. Parking $15 (includes free shuttle and admission)

>> 7 things that will wow you this weekend at hot air balloon festival

>> PHOTOS: See the amazing balloons from Middletown’s annual hot hair balloon festival

Gaelic Storm will once again headline the Dayton Celtic Festival this July. CONTRIBUTED


Celtic music is just one of the things to love about one of the signature festivals of Dayton summer. There’s also the beer, the kilts and the delicious grub. Three days of free live music from Gaelic Storm, Scythian, Socks In The Frying Pan, Rory Makem, The Fitzgeralds, We Banjo 3 and Heron Valley. 

Did we mention the beer, food and culture?

>> 8 fun facts about Gaelic Storm

WHEN: Friday to Sunday, July 27-29

WHERE: Riverscape MetroPark, 237 E. Monument Ave., Dayton


INFO: Website | Facebook | Instagram

>> PHOTOS: Dayton Celtic Festival 2017


The 35th annual Dayton Liederkranz-Turner Germanfest Picnic is back for a second year at its new home at Riverscape with all the things you love about this Dayton tradition, including that unbelievable potato salad. Get ready for schnitzels, German beer, pretzels, Bavarian noms, polka and chicken dancing and apple cake. There will be a raffle for a trip for two to Germany plus $1,000 spending money.

WHEN: Aug. 10-12 — 5-11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

WHERE: Riverscape Metropark, 237 E. Monument Ave., Dayton


INFO: Website

>> PHOTOS: The 34th annual Germanfest Picnic

The fifth annual Bacon Fest took over the Fraze Pavilion, in Kettering, with porky fun on Sunday, Aug. 20. The event sponsored by the Fraze and Miami Valley Restaurant Raiders — a monthly “foodie” group that visits local restaurants — featured bacon treats from 15 locally owned restaurant. STAFF PHOTO / TOM GILLIAM(Tom Gilliam/Tom Gilliam)


Bacon on bacon on bacon. And also bacon.

>> PHOTOS: Did we catch you drooling over the amazing food at Bacon Fest? 

This festival sets out to prove that “everything goes better with bacon.”

Local restaurants create bacon-ey dishes for the event presented by the Restaurant Raiders, a foodie group that supports Dayton area restaurants. 

Music includes Cherry Avenue, The Fries and Fu5ion.

WHEN: 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18

WHERE: Fraze Pavilion, 95 Lincoln Park Blvd., Kettering


Ohio Renaissance Festival is always a great time, but on Fantasy Weekend, wondrous creatures such as unicorns, fairies, and elves sneak into our realm for a visit. We went to Fantasy weekend and enjoyed the beautiful weather, great food and drink, and saw many incredible costumes. PHOTO / Josher Lumpkin


Transport yourselves to another era at the Ohio Renaissance Festival. This 30-acre permanent village has been historically re-created to resemble 16th Century England. Every weekend from Labor Day through the end of October, experience entertainment including jousting knights, jugglers, comedians, sword-fighters and the Queen herself with more than 100 shows daily. Feast on gigantic turkey legs, sip on hearty ales and flavorful wines. No utensils required. More than 150 world-class artisans will display their wares.

WHEN: Weekends Sept. 1 – Oct. 28 plus Labor Day. Open 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

WHERE: Renaissance Park in Harveysburg, Ohio on State Route 73 in Warren County.

INFO: Website

It’s an annual feast at the Dayton Greek Festival. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO(Contributing Writer)


OPA! The Dayton Greek Festival is celebrating 60 years this year. Experience the best of Greek food, music and culture at this three-day festival in September. Feast on pastitsio, moussaka, dolmades, saganaki, tsoureki, Ouzo slushies, craft beers, baklava and more. Take a tour of the gorgeous Annunciation Greek Orthodox church. Entertainment includes Greek dancing and music as well as cooking demonstrations and shopping.

WHEN: Sept. 7-9. Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

WHERE: Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 500 Belmonte Park North, Dayton

COST: Admission is free on Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and $2 per person the entire weekend. Children under 12 are admitted free, as well as active military and veterans. Free parking and shuttle service.

INFO: Website

Sauerkraut pizza is one of the local delicacies peddled at the Ohio Sauerkraut Festival in Waynesville. STAFF/NICK DAGGY(STAFF/NICK DAGGY)


Whether you love sauerkraut or hate it, there’s something for everyone at one of the region’s biggest festivals. Sauerkraut can be found as a main course, an ingredient or a topping for pizza, sundaes, brownies, donuts, cookies, sausage, hot dogs and more. There are plenty of unique dishes for those who dare. There will be non-sauerkraut tainted foods as well.

WHEN: Oct. 13-14. Hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: Downtown Waynesville

COST: Free admission

INFO: Website

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