breaking news

3-year-old girl allegedly assaulted by her babysitter has died

2 traditional holiday events on tap Friday

Local residents can herald the Christmas season this Friday with two traditional holiday destinations — Woodland Lights in Washington Twp. and the Dayton Holiday Festival.

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Woodland Lights at Countryside Park, organizers are offering carriage rides, amusement rides, live animal displays, concessions and other activities every night the festival is open through December.

The festivities begin at 6 p.m. Friday at the park on the Washington Twp. Recreation Campus, 895 Miamisburg-Centerville Road.

RELATED: This breathtaking holiday tradition is marking 25 seasons, and it’s still a must-see

The holiday lighting festival will be open from Friday through Sunday through Dec. 3, then will be open every night Dec. 8-30, except Dec. 24 and 25.

Woodland Lights is spread out over eight acres and transforms Countryside Park into a Christmas fairyland, where people can enjoy a fireside visit with Santa Claus in a historic log cabin.

New this year is a “selfie-friendly Grinch World exhibit designed by the Zoot Theatre Company,” according to the press release from Washington Twp.

MORE: 10 must-see holiday light displays close to home

Attendees can ride the carriage pulled by Percheron horses each night of the festival and music will play throughout the park, thanks to a mobile unit being provided by California Custom Sounds.

Sponsors stepped up to make this silver anniversary special, said Mark Metzger, Washington Twp. recreation facilities director.

Metzger said when the holiday festival began in the early 1990s, the hope was that this event would grow over time into a traditional, multi-generational destination.”

“That’s exactly what it’s turned out to be,” he said. “Most of the time you’ll see grandmothers and grandfathers with their grandchildren and mothers and fathers with their children … It’s definitely a routine event, and because there is so much entertainment, there’s something for everybody.”

Check out more upcoming events at

This will be the 45th year the holidays kickoff in grand style in Dayton, with the Grand Illumination and Dayton Children’s Parade Spectacular in Lights, which happens from 4 to 9 p.m. Friday at Courthouse Square.

The tree-lighting is set to happen at 7:45 p.m., followed by a 45-minute parade of festive floats, entertainers, animals and more attractions for children.

The Christmas tree will feature 100,000 lights, and another 100,000 are strewn about throughout the downtown area, according to Sandra Gudorf, president of the Downtown Dayton Partnership.

“This is a long-time community tradition,” Gudorf said. “We’ve got moms and dads who remember coming as children and now they are bringing their children.”

The event marks the start of the month-long Dayton Holiday Festival, in which special events and activities are planned every night through December.

Gudorf said new this year will be the “Sugarplum Shuttle,” in which families can climb aboard a pedal wagon, enjoy free hot chocolate and ride around through the Oregon District, RiverScape MetroPark and the Schuster Center.

Returning for another year is the live reindeer display with a sleigh, in which families can pet the animals and take photographs.

There will also be the Family Movie Series at The Neon, The Tike’s Shoppe, Virginia Kettering’s Holiday Train Display, as well as animated window displays and entertainment in the Schuster Center Wintergarden.

The weather forecast indicates conditions will be dry and seasonably cool, with a high of 49 and low of 27 degrees.

The Dayton event is free to attend. Tickets for Woodland Lights are $8 and can be purchased at the website, More information about the Dayton Holiday Festival can be found at

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Brown: ‘Trump bruising behavior’ will change when GOP goes public
Brown: ‘Trump bruising behavior’ will change when GOP goes public

By Jack Torry Washington Bureau Sen. Sherrod Brown predicted today that President Donald Trump will alter his bruising behavior only after Republicans on Capitol Hill criticize him publicly as they have done privately. In an interview on “NBC’s Meet the Press,” Brown, D-Ohio said he has heard “so many Republican “senators...
Victims of the FIU pedestrian bridge collapse: What we know
Victims of the FIU pedestrian bridge collapse: What we know

The victims of the Florida International University bridge collapse range in age from 18 to 60. They include a father of three, a teenager aspiring for a career in political science and Cuban owners of a party business.  Their lives all came to an abrupt end on the afternoon of March 15 when a pedestrian bridge at FIU fell, trapping...
Trump slams Mueller, McCabe in Sunday tweets
Trump slams Mueller, McCabe in Sunday tweets

In a flurry of tweets Sunday morning, President Donald Trump criticized special counsel Robert Mueller’s legal team, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and former FBI Director James Comey, CNN reported. Trump suggested partisan bias, wondering on Twitter why the Mueller team had “13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary...
Troy narrows superintendent’s candidates list, sets interviews
Troy narrows superintendent’s candidates list, sets interviews

The Troy City Schools Board of Education will begin this week interviewing eight candidates, three already with the district, for the superintendent’s job. Board President Doug Trostle said the board planned to interview four candidates each night Monday and Tuesday in executive sessions. After those interviews, the board will narrow candidates...
Former Middletown athlete accused of leading local drug trafficking organization
Former Middletown athlete accused of leading local drug trafficking organization

Several years ago, Donte Holdbrook was a member of a Middletown High School football team who caught touchdown passes and a guard on the basketball team. Today, Holdbrook, 24, is in federal custody as the accused ringleader of a drug trafficking organization that supplied dealers with fentanyl and heroin in Middletown and throughout southern Ohio....
More Stories