This is how Dayton partied to open the brand-new Arcade in 1904


Highlights

Performing bears were loaned from the Cincinnati Zoo

The Arcade Charity Festival lasted three days

We recently highlighted a number of the city’s greatest bashes in our feature, “Dayton loves a party: 7 of the city’s best celebrations. ” 

This week we have another party to talk about. The three-day Arcade Charity Festival that marked the opening of the Dayton Arcade happened this week in 1904.

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“ARCADE OPENED WITH A GORGEOUS FESTIVAL IN INTERESTS OF PHILANTHROPY,” read a headline on the front page of the Dayton Daily News. “WILLING WOMEN HAVE BEEN HARD AT WORK.” 

» RELATED: The Arcade: Dayton’s crowning jewel

» RELATED: Latest Dayton Arcade plans seek to blend past and future

The festival drew large crowds eager to see “one of the country’s most modern and complete structures of its kind.” The charity festival, with representatives from St. Elizabeth and Miami Valley hospitals on hand, helped promote the city’s jubilee and its causes. 

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Inside the Arcade, numerous booths were set up in the interest of “sweet charity.” Visitors of all ages snacked on fruit, popcorn, candy, ice cream and cake.

Near the Fourth Street entrance, a vaudeville show kept guests entertained while a wild animal show with performing bears on loan from the Cincinnati Zoo thrilled. 

» RELATED: Then & Now: Where Dayton gathered under the Arcade rotunda

Music and flowers were there “in a wealth of abundance,” according to newspaper coverage. The Third Regiment Band, National Cash Register Band and the Soldiers Home Band performed in the afternoon and evenings.


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