This will be a busy season in the Miami Valley, with countless festivals and events. Here are Dayton Magazine’s pick of the crop. Don’t forget the sunscreen.
For the first weekend in June, head to Troy for the popular Troy Strawberry Festival. There are two days of events on June 1-2, starting with a Mardi Gras processional and then strawberries in all sorts of tasty treats, from shortcake to donuts to strawberry pie. The festival also features many arts and crafts booths, athletic competitions and entertainment. Over 100,000 people come to Troy for this free weekend festival.
The Annual Pride Parade & Festival is on Saturday June 1 in downtown Dayton. The parade and festival are free and vendors will be selling food, drinks and fun things to buy, with a portion of proceeds going to help the Greater Dayton LGBT Center.
For you country music fans, check out the Yuengling Brews, Bands & BBQ on Sunday June 2 at Carillon Historical Park, where several area restaurants will be serving up their best BBQ dishes. And popular country bands like Parmalee, Love & Theft and Randy Houser will be playing all day. Entry is free, and a portion of proceeds from food and drink sales goes to help the Boy Scouts of America.
While Troy celebrates its strawberries, Wilmington celebrates its own claim to fame with its annual Banana Split Festival on June 7-8 in downtown Wilmington. Step back in time and experience Americana at its best with the foods you would have expected to eat back in the ‘50s and ‘60s, including the festival highlight, the make-your-own banana split booth. The festival is free and net proceeds from food and beverage sales go to Clinton County Charities.
Not to be outdone by strawberries and banana splits, downtown Miamisburg hops on the food festival wagon with the Rock ‘n’ Green Tomato Festival on Saturday June 8. While we’re guessing that fried green tomatoes will be featured, the big food event here is about who serves up the ‘Best Burger’ in Dayton, as Miamisburg’s own Hamburger Wagon does battle with last year’s winner, Voltzy’s Root Beer Stand of Moraine.
Beer lovers rejoice the following weekend during Jungle Jim’s International Beer Fest on June 14-15. That same week Cirque du Soleil – Quidam will be at the Nutter Center (June 12-16). Quidam is the story of a young girl’s escape into a world of imagination. Don’t miss this great show while it’s in town.
A busy weekend follows on Saturday, June 22 when the Dayton African American Legacy Institute presents The Juneteenth Festival at W.S. McIntosh Memorial Park to celebrate the Emancipation Proclamation and honor black Union soldiers from the Dayton area. Also on Saturday, June 22 is the Big Brothers Big Sisters Clambake For Kids’ Sake at McCormick & Schmick’s to help raise money and awareness for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Miami Valley. The Michelob Women in Jazz Festival is in downtown Dayton at Dave Hall Plaza on June 23 (free). The big weekend event is the Vectren Dayton Air Show at the Dayton International Airport, where families can experience many great airplane exhibits and demonstrations on June 22-23. Tickets are between $15 and $20.
Closing out June is one of the biggest festivals in the region, the 2013 Cityfolk Festival at RiverScape MetroPark on June 28-30. This is the first year there will be an entry fee: $7 for adults and $3 for children 2-12 (under 2 free), but the food and entertainment will be top-notch. The headliner is Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, and the biggest fireworks display in the region caps off this amazing three-day festival.
For the Fourth of July, head to downtown Centerville for the annual Americana Festival. This free celebration includes a mile-long parade, a street fair with more than 300 arts and crafts booths, an antique and classic car and truck show, a 5K family run, entertainment and fireworks.
The Dayton Blues Festival takes place at downtown Dayton’s Dave Hall Plaza on Sunday, July 21. It’s followed by another of the region’s most popular festivals. The Celtic Festival at RiverScape MetroPark happens all weekend July 26-28. Shop for Celtic souvenirs and products imported from Ireland, Scotland and England while you eat and drink authentic Celtic fare. Bring the kids to this free event for crafts and activities, and bring your ears for some amazing Celtic music.
Dust off the dirndls and lederhosen and get your Gemuetlichkeit on at The 30th Annual Germanfest Picnic on August 9-11 at Carillon Historical Park where you can enjoy steins of German beer with schnitzel, bratwurst and sauerkraut while listening to traditional German music. The Miami Valley Music Fest at the Eagle’s Campgrounds in Troy is the same weekend.
Film buffs will want to check out the FilmDayton Festival on August 23-25 at The Neon, which showcases locally connected films, the “best of the fests” and great short films submitted from across the country and around the globe. Quality films and hometown hospitality meet in Dayton where filmmakers and audiences get to watch, discuss, learn and have a great time together.
Head to Alefest, one of the most popular beer fests in the region, on Saturday, August 24th at Carillon Historical Park. For $40 ($35 in advance), you can enjoy 20 samples of the best craft beers, music, entertainment and a chance to win a trip to the Yuengling Brewery. The Greater Dayton Lebanese Festival at St. Ignatius of Antioch Maronite Catholic Church is also that weekend, where you can indulge in authentic Middle Eastern food and entertainment.
August ends with one of the biggest music festivals in the Dayton region –
The 2013 Gentlemen of the Road stopover in Troy on August 30-31. Headlined by Mumford & Sons, the music festival sold out in a matter of hours, but there will be plenty to experience in downtown Troy that weekend. And to close out the summer, head to Alter High School in Kettering for the enormously popular and family-friendly Alterfest on August 31-September 2.
For more events, check out Bill Pote and Lisa Grigsby’s website, DaytonMostMetro.com, which features the most complete and searchable calendar of events happening in the Miami Valley.