5 places to see holiday lights on Christmas

Published: Thursday, December 21, 2017 @ 3:32 PM

The Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill opened for the season on Nov. 25.

‘Tis the season to sparkle! 

Christmas is here and what better way to celebrate than to admire wonderful whimsical displays through crisp air under the light of the moon with family, friends or your special significant other?! 

Here are 5 places to go to light up your holidays. 

1.) Clifton Mill 

This year's light display at Clifton Mills comprises more than 3.2 million bulbs. With the addition of the snow on the ground, the display is even more spectacular than usual.(Damon Higgins)

The Clifton Mill lights are celebrating 30 years. Gaze upon 3.5 million lights covering the bridge, the mill’s windows, roof, sides and bottom while every hour the lights shut off completely, leaving guests in total and complete darkness. As quietness sweeps the atmosphere, orchestral music begins a medley of Christmas songs and lights over the bridge will twinkle on and off again. Don't miss the Santa Claus Museum on site. Refreshments for sale.

>> Dayton bucket list: Rustic hike and gigantic pancake adventure

Cost: $10. Kids 6 and under are free. Parking is free.  

When: Nov. 24 – Dec. 31

Times: 5-9 p.m. Lights go on at 6 p.m. Closes at 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. 

Location: 75 Water St., Clifton, OH 45316 

More info: Website

2.) Light Up Middletown 

Attendance and donations were up the first weekend of Light Up Middletown, organizers said. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF(Staff Writer)

After setting attendance records last year, Light Up Middletown is preparing for its 19th season. Drive your way through this 100-acre illumination display in Smith Park this holiday season. Notice the thousands of twinkling lights including a floating sea serpent in the lake, a penguin village, deer leaping over the roadway, whales, Santa’s workshop and more. The signature entry tunnel is longer this year. 

>> RELATED: Middletown’s newest brewery to make its debut this week

Cost: You choose the price; make any donation at the gate that you deem appropriate. Donations support nonprofit groups in the community and upgrades to Smith Park.

When: Nov. 23 – Dec. 31 

Times: 6 P.M. – 10 P.M. every day, including holidays, regardless of weather 

Location: 500 Tytus Ave., Middletown

More info: Website

3. Holiday Lights on the Hill 

Holiday Lights on the Hill at Pyramid Hill will offer guests a holiday light experience that brings art and nature together. The popular attraction will be open for the 2017 season from Nov. 17 through Dec. 31. CONTRIBUTED(Contributing Writer)

Holiday Lights on the Hill will feature gardens of light, trees that sparkle up to 60 feet in the air, colorful forests and illuminated sculpture. This is the 16th season for the annual light display. See the 300-acre Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park sparkling with over 2 million twinkling lights in this drive-through display.    

>>RELATED: Why you need to visit one of the region’s most overlooked treasures

Cost: Monday through Thursday $20; Friday through Sunday $25 (Per carload). Admission for Pyramid Hill members presenting a current membership card is $15 every day.  

When: Nov. 17 through Dec. 31. Open holidays  

Hours: Hours are Monday through Thursday 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday through Sunday 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.  

Location: Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park, 1763 Hamilton Cleves Road, Hamilton  More info: Website

4. Niederman Family Farm

A holiday lights display will be showing at the Niederman Family Farm in Liberty Township Nov. 26 through Dec. 30 from 5:30pm-10pm. The display is called "A Walk Through the Bible". Admission is free with complimentary cookies and cocoa as well as a chance to meet their family farm animals.(Jessica Uttinger)

Enjoy this walk-through Christmas lights display. Walk Thru the Bible features tens of thousands of lights set to the sounds of holiday music, plus live animals.    

>> RELATED: Which grocery stores are open on Christmas Eve, Christmas 2017?

Cost: Free  

When: Nov. 24 through Dec. 30.  

Hours: Sunday through Thursday 6-9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 6-10 p.m.  

Location: Lesourdsville West Chester Road. Use 4972 in your GPS to access parking lot.  

More info: Website

5. Christmas Nights of Lights at Coney Island

Coney Island’s popular drive-through Christmas lights show will return for a second holiday season. CONTRIBUTED(Staff Report)

Take a 2.5-mile car ride through Christmas displays and light shows with over a million lights, tunnels and more all synchronized to music. See larger than life trees, glowing snowflakes, dancing candy canes and more.    

>> CHRISTMAS DINING: Local restaurants that are open on the holiday

Cost: $6 per person. Children 3 and under free.  

When: Now through Jan. 1 including holidays  

Hours: Dusk until 10 p.m.  

Location: Coney Island, 6201 Kellogg Ave., Cincinnati  

More info: Website

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Top 10 things to do in Dayton this week

Published: Friday, April 13, 2018 @ 12:07 PM

Ghostlight Coffee and Son of a Biscuit present Battle of the Breakfasts at White Allen Chevrolet in Dayton on Sunday, April 29. CONTRIBUTED
Ghostlight Coffee and Son of a Biscuit present Battle of the Breakfasts at White Allen Chevrolet in Dayton on Sunday, April 29. CONTRIBUTED

Nothing to do this weekend? More like decisions, decisions, decisions ...

>> The best food truck events this month

>> The best LIVE music events in Dayton this weekend


Brantley Gilbert became a new father at the end of 2017, but it hasn't slowed down the country-rocker behind Top 10 country hits like "Bottoms Up" and "You Don't Know Her Like I Do." His latest album, "The Devil Don't Sleep" (2017), yielded the top 10 hit "The Weekend." The Georgia native, currently on The Ones That Like Me Tour with special guests Aaron Lewis and Josh Phillips, returns to The Nutter Center, 3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy., Fairborn, at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 26. After this tour, Gilbert will join Kid Rock and Wheeler Walker Jr. for more live dates. Cost: $29.75-$59.75. Call 937-775-4789 or visit www.nuttercenter.com.

>> Brantley Gilbert headed to town for concert


Jennifer Joplin stars as the literary legend from Dayton — Erma Bombeck. CONTRIBUTED(Staff Writer)

Human Race Resident Artist Jennifer Joplin stars as Erma Bombeck in "At Wits End," a one-woman play based on some of the more notable columns by the late writer. The play, written by sisters Allison Engel and Margaret Engel, is presented by Human Race Theatre Company in the Philips Creativity Center, 116 N. Jefferson St., Second Floor, Dayton, on Friday, April 20. Cost: $25. "Erma Bombeck: A Wit's End" is presented through May 13. Call 937-228-3630 or visit www.ticketcenterstage.com.

>>RELATED: Get to know one of Dayton’s most famous names in this new production


Jackie Evancho, who went from YouTube sensation to NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” to chart-topping singer, joins the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra for a pair of SuperPops Series concerts at the Schuster Center in Dayton on Friday and Saturday, April 27 and 28. CONTRIBUTED

Before a 10-year-old Jackie Evancho captured the nation’s attention with her television debut on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” she was racking up big numbers in YouTube views. Today, at 18, the Pittsburgh native is a celebrated classical crossover artist with several chart-topping albums.

>>‘America’s Got Talent’ sensation to team up with Dayton musicians this weekend

Even before that, Evancho had come to the attention of celebrated producer David Foster, who has remained a champion of her talent. The singer joins the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra for “An Evening with Jackie Evancho,” a pair of SuperPops Series concerts at the Schuster Center, Second and Main streets, Dayton, at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 27 and 28.

Evancho’s debut album, “Prelude to a Dream,” was released in 2009. Her latest album, “Two Hearts,” was released in 2017. Cost: $13-$79. Call 937-228-3630 or visit www.ticketcenterstage.com.


(Andy Snow)

When Dayton Visual Arts Center presents its 24th annual DVAC Art Auction, attendees will have an opportunity to bid on locally-produced paintings, mixed media, ceramics and more. More than 100 original works are available during the casual gala fundraiser at Sinclair Community College, Ponitz Center, 444 W. Third St., Dayton, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, April 27.

>>GUIDE: The region’s premiere arts event showcases the best Dayton has to offer

If you’re interested in purchasing some art but can’t attend, you’re in luck because DVAC has added mobile bidding this year, which allows interested parties to bid via text message or e-mail. Cost: $50 members and $65 nonmembers in advance, $75 at the door. Call 937-224-3822 or visit www.daytonvisualarts.org.


Scenes from past Taste of Greene County events at the Nutter Center. CONTRIBUTED(Contributing Writer)

More than 20 area restaurants, bakeries and caterers will be participating in the 21st annual Taste of Greene County. The event, at the Nutter Center, 3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy., Fairborn, from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 29, features samples of special dishes, including appetizers, soups, salads, entrees and desserts. Attendees can vote for their favorite dishes. An awards ceremony will be held at 2:45 p.m. Cost: $15 adults in advance, $20 day of the event, $13 seniors and military, $6 children ages 6-12 and free children younger than 5. VIP tickets are $25 and include early entry at 11 a.m. Call 937-775-4789 or visit www.nuttercenter.com.


Dancer Gabrielle Sharp joins musicians from the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra for “500 Years of Dance in 40 Minutes,” an EDGE Series Concert in Wright-Patterson’s USO Center in Fairborn on Saturday, April 28. CONTRIBUTED

Dancer Gabrielle Sharp will join musicians from the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra for “500 Years of Dance in 40 Minutes.” Kirstin Greenlaw (violin), Kara Camfield (violin) and Stephen Ullery (double bass) will provide the musical backdrop for this contemporary dance program. The concert, part of Dayton Performing Arts Alliance’s EDGE Series, is presented in Wright-Patterson’s USO Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, 2221 Birch St., Bldg. 22, Fairborn, at 4 p.m. Saturday, April 28. Cost: Free. Visit www.daytonperformingarts.org.


It has been five years since Metaphorically Speaking began presenting live programs mixing spoken word poetry, performance and music. To celebrate the occasion, the local group presents “I Love Sex and Poetry” at Victoria Theatre, 138 N. Main St., Dayton, at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 28. Ace Metaphor and Jay Martinez are among the performers that night. Cost: $38.30 to $88.30. Call 937-228-3630 or visit www.ticketcenterstage.com.


Minneapolis-based pop-punk band City of the Weak is currently on a co-headlining tour with New York glam-rockers Echo Black. While the group’s sound completely different, they are kindred DIY spirits with a taste for the road, rock ’n’ theatrics and melodic hooks. The groups bring the new tour to Therapy Café, 452 Third St., Dayton, at 6 p.m. Sunday, April 29. In Loving Memory will also perform. Cost: $10 21 and older, $12 18- to 20-year-olds. Call 937-461-4000.


Ghostlight Coffee and Son of a Biscuit present Battle of the Breakfasts at White Allen Chevrolet in Dayton on Sunday, April 29. CONTRIBUTED

Ghostlight Coffee and Son of a Biscuit present the second round of Battle of the Breakfasts. This installment is held at White Allen Chevrolet, 429 N. Main St., Dayton, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, April 29. This round pits Greek Street Food Truck against Son of a Biscuit, who defeated Drunken Waffle in the first battle in November. Ghostlight Coffee Truck will be on hand to serve coffee and officiate the food competition. The food truck with the most sales will be crowned the winner and advance to face a new competitor in May’s battle. Cost: Free. Call 937-985-2633.

>>FOOD NEWS: Dayton food truck giants to face off in Battle of the Breakfasts


Dayton’s own The Boxcar Suite celebrates the release of their second album “Farther In and Farther Out” at Yellow Cab Tavern on Saturday April 28, 2018. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Since forming in 2012, the Boxcar Suite has been delivering a guitar-heavy brand of Midwestern Americana with elements of ’70s rock and ’90s power pop. The group’s debut album, “Across the Vast & Deep,” was released in 2014, followed by the EP, “Life on the Limb,” in 2016. This weekend, the band drops the excellent new full-length, “Further In and Farther Out.” The Boxcar Suite is marking the occasion with a release party with special guests Speaking Suns and Seth Canan & the Carriers at the Yellow Cab Tavern, 700 E. Fourth St., Dayton, at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 28. Cost: $7 in advance, $10 at the door. Visit www.yellowcabtavern.com.

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Festival season officially kicks off this weekend with SWEET treats

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 6:00 AM

Festival season is officially here! Scenes from the 39th annual Bellbrook Sugar Maple Festival, which took place April 21-13, 2017.
Festival season is officially here! Scenes from the 39th annual Bellbrook Sugar Maple Festival, which took place April 21-13, 2017.

Get ready for it! Festival season is officially upon us.

>> PHOTOS: 2017 Sugar Maple Festival in Bellbrook

It all starts with Bellbrook’s Sugar Maple Festival, which runs Friday through Sunday, April 27-29. 

>> Some yummy bites and more at Yellow Cab’s Brunch! Food Truck Rally

This year’s Sugar Maple Festival marks the 40th anniversary. Here are a few things to know before you go:

Take the free shuttle to the festival from Bellcreek Intermediate School, 3777 Upper Bellbrook Road. Parking will be virtually non-existent downtown. 

>> Your guide to Dayton-area food truck rallies this season

Festival season is officially here! Scenes from the 39th annual Bellbrook Sugar Maple Festival, which took place April 21-13, 2017.


Grub vendors and 75 craft peddlers will line Franklin Street. Everything from candles to fabric crafts to window art will be up for grabs.

>> GUIDE: Food truck events in and around Dayton this season

Warped Wing, Yellow Springs Brewery and Angry Orchard brews and booze will be for sale in the beer tent near the live music. Friday night’s kickoff event will include music from Full Frontal. On Saturday, Spungewurthy takes the stage.

As for the food, you can expect local food trucks and tent setups offering an array of flavors and foods.

>> This local McDonalds is getting a makeover -- and a service you wouldn’t expect


The annual pancake breakfast is set for 8-11 a.m. Saturday at Bellbrook United Methodist Church, 47 E. Franklin St. Admission is $7 for adults and $4 for children older than 2. Family admission is $15.


The Sugar Maple Festival Parade starts at 10:30 a.m. Saturday. The Mini Sweetheart Parade is at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Bellbrook Park. 


Kids, teens and adults will be able to submit entries for a recycled sculpture contest. All entries will be displayed during the festival weekend. First, second and third place winners will receive a cash prize; all others receive a participation ribbon. For guidelines and entry details, visit the event Facebook page. Commemorative tees will also be available at the information booth and beer garden for $15. 

>> Yeehaw! Did we snap your picture at Dayton Barbecue Rodeo

There will also be “Real Housewives of Bellbrook” themed steins, which grants a free beer. But only 25 will be available for sale Friday. These steins are available for presale and can be ordered through SMFPreOrders@gmail.com.

Another stein option will be available in limited quantities at the festival — also offering free beer with its purchase. No pre-sale options are available for the second stein.  

>> These Daytonians are going to be immortalized in our city’s Walk of Fame

Festival season is officially here! Scenes from the 39th annual Bellbrook Sugar Maple Festival, which took place April 21-13, 2017.

Dogs will get their chance to strut their stuff at the festival’s annual dog show Friday at 6:30 p.m. This show is not about breed or agility. Awards will be given out for for important things, like cutest puppy, cutest dog, ugliest, smallest, largest, best costume and silly dog tricks 

>> 5 events to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Dayton

Want to go?

WHAT: Bellbrook Sugar Maple Festival

WHEN: April 27 to 29

WHERE: Downtown Bellbrook, Ohio (1 W. Franklin St.)

COST: Entrance to festival is free; pancake breakfast is $7 for adults, $4 for children older than 2, $15 for family admission.

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5 local country artists to watch — and where you can watch them

Published: Wednesday, April 25, 2018 @ 6:00 AM


This Wednesday, four hot local country music acts will take to the stage to raise money for Moms 4 Miracles. M4M is a component fund of The Dayton Foundation that supports children with cancer around the Dayton-area.

>> Local country artists come together for K99.1FM Concert for a Cause

The musical acts include Clark Manson, Kate Hasting Band, Wyatt McCubbin and Ashley Martin. These are among the biggest names in local country music.

We spoke with Nancy Wilson and James Frye of K99.1FM for the scoop on these artists and musicians — plus other local country acts you should know about.

>> 5 Dayton rock bands that have gone international



Hometown: Covington, Ohio

Hit songs: “Track 9,” “3 Wishes” and “Friday Nighters”

Tour dates: Click here

What K99.1FM’s Nancy Wilson says: “Clark is definitely a ‘hometown boy!’ He has worked hard at his craft since his teenage years and has garnered a huge following, not just in the Miami Valley, but across the country. I like how he never forgets where he came from.”

More info: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

>> Rising country artist Clark Manson talks about life, inspiration, writing and more

Kate Hasting Band


Hometown: New Carlisle, Ohio

Hit songs: “Behind the Bleachers”

Tour dates: Click here

What K99.1FM’s Frye Guy says: “She has amazing vocal ability and is amazing on stage. The guys that play with her are top-notch musicians. Truly a great show to see.” 

More info: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

>> Get to know the Kate Hasting Band

>> Fort Loramie’s epic Country Concert lineup



Hometown: Centerville, Ohio

Hit songs: “Mama’s Porch,” “Lovin’ You” and “Gone”

Tour dates: Click here

What K99.1FM’s Nancy Wilson says: “Alexis is truly an amazing diverse talent. You can find the barefoot beauty singing at local clubs and events, and a normal fixture at her church on Sundays. She is not only gifted but brings a fresh sound to country!” 

More info: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

>> 7 ways K99 makes our community better

Wyatt McCubbin


Hometown: South Charleston, Ohio

Hit songs: “Back Where I Come From,” “Where the Lonesome Wind Blows” and “Where Corn Don’t Grow”

Tour dates: Click here

What K99.1FM’s Nancy Wilson says: “Wyatt’s down home, soulful voice is a throwback to the early days of country, with a modern take. Wyatt knows exactly who he is and is someone who country music needs.” 

More info: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Ashley Martin


Hometown: Springboro, Ohio

Hit songs: “Heartbreak Machine,” “Bless Her Heart,” “He’s Mine” and “Hello Lonely”

Tour dates: Click here

What K99.1FM’s Frye Guy says: “This girl can bring some attitude when on stage. She has a really strong presence on stage. She hits a broad spectrum with her lyrics, but is one of those acts you wont forget seeing.”

More info: Facebook |Twitter

>> The best places in the Dayton-area to see live, local music

Want to go?

WHAT: K99.1FM’s Concert for a Cause featuring Clark Manson, Kate Hasting Band, Wyatt McCubbin and Ashley Martin

WHERE: Miami Valley Gaming, 6000 Ohio 63, Lebanon

WHEN: Wednesday, April 25 at 7 p.m.

COST: $10

INFO: Facebook

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The region’s premiere arts event showcases the best Dayton has to offer

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 6:00 AM

Andy Snow
(Andy Snow)

The Dayton Visual Arts Center is gearing up for its 24th Annual Art Auction at The David H. Ponitz Center at Sinclair Community College, and Dayton’s art community is feeling the excitement. 

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“There are a lot of artists that live in this community, but there are not a lot of opportunities for artists to show and exhibit and sell their work to the public,” said Eva Buttacavoli, executive director of DVAC. “So the auction becomes important to show off the rich talent we have in the community.”

>>3 tips on buying art from a 30-something

(Contributed DVAC)

>>PHOTOS: DVAC Art Auction 2017

DVAC’s mission is to open the door for Dayton to have a closer relationship with art. The center helps sustain the arts community by providing a place to show, market and sell work. All the money raised goes to educational programs and events through the center. 

(Contributed DVAC)

>>20 reasons to love Dayton’s MetroParks

As Dayton’s premiere arts event draws nearer, the public continues to catch glimpses of the stellar works up for auction. Buttacavoli said attendees will not only get to sip and snack on “heavy hors d’oeuvres while taking in some of Dayton’s most dazzling accomplishments, but they’ll get to rub shoulders with the artists themselves and hear what inspires them.”

>>Kitchen fire will close local brunch restaurant until weekend

Approximately 120 works, including paintings, photographs, prints, glass, jewelry and more will be for sale, so anyone can purchase a piece of fine, Dayton-made art. Featuring a variety of different mediums, styles and processes, there is certain to be a piece that speaks to you. 

silent auction for most works will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., while the live auction is set to take place from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The live auction will feature 14 pieces from some of Dayton’s most notable artists, including Annie Bowers, Virginia Burroughs, Ron Rollins and Terry Welker. 

(Contributed/ DVAC)

Brand new this year is Silent Auction Mobile Bidding, where anyone can bid on pieces with their smartphone -- from anywhere

“No more paper bid sheets, crowded auction areas or complicated check out ... If you can’t attend the event, you can log in remotely from anywhere and bid on the perfect piece of art for your home or office,” Buttacavoli said. 

“Mobile bidding will be available at no charge to event ticket holders beginning April 22. People not attending the event may bid on items beginning at 6:30 p.m. the evening of the Auction with a $10 donation,” according to a DVAC press release. 

For more information about the Mobile Bidding experience, as well as registration, visit daytonvisualarts.org.

(Contributed DVAC)

Signature to DVAC’s auction and differing from many arts events, it’s a casual attire event with an affordable ticket price. Tickets are $50 for DVAC members, $60 for nonmembers and $75 at the door. 


WHAT: Dayton Visual Arts Center 24th Annual Art Auction

WHEN: 6 p.m. Friday, April 27

WHERE: Sinclair Community College’s Ponitz Center, 

444 W Third St., downtown Dayton

INFO & TICKETS: www.daytonvisualarts.org | 937-224-3822

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