From The Past To The Present

Heritage Festival is Sure to be Full of Fireworks

By Megan Garrison

Dayton has a few historical facts that make us truly unique – from the long history of the Marianist monks at the University of Dayton to the Wright brothers’ invention of the first flight. These stories become more than a simple tale to the people who live and work in this city; they help build the identity of Daytonians and a sense of pride in our home that comes with the heritage of the land itself, which is why we are all definitely looking forward to the Heritage Festival on Sunday, May 27th.

The Dayton Heritage Festival at Carillon Park is a chance to celebrate Dayton’s history from its founding in 1796 through present day in a one-day community festival. Carillon Park will be opened to guests to come and enjoy the patriotic flair and feeling of true celebration for the history of our grand city. The event will consist of 30 exhibit buildings that each tell a different story of Dayton’s progress and milestones. And don’t be afraid to bring your kids because they will no doubt enjoy the Kids Zone that will be filled with games and crafts.

“This our fourth year doing the Heritage Festival,” said Elise Hafenbrack, Director of Community Development with Dayton History, “It’s such an amazing day!”

Through the years the festival has added and perfected the historical atmosphere of Dayton. The festival’s exhibits are sure to be a hit for all types of audiences.  Perhaps the best part is that the docents and interpreters that help to authenticate the event are all Dayton History staff and volunteers simply sharing their love of Dayton and its history with the patrons.

“All our costumes are historically accurate,” said Hafenbrack, “Any items that the staff handle are reproductions, but the exhibit buildings themselves are filled with a wide variety of artifacts.”

While the Heritage Festival is grounded in its historical merits, history is not the only aspect of the event to be excited about. There are numerous opportunities for fun experiences from history to art to aviation.

“It is such an amazing day, with all of our 30 buildings and structures open with costumes interpreters and activities, small scale train rides, carousel rides, music in the air, Clodbuster Vintage baseball team demos with the kids, yummy food and beverages and the various concerts,” Hafenbrack lists excitedly.

And the list still goes on and on. But Hafenbrack has her favorite moments from the festival for the last four years.

“I love it when they do the salute to the Armed forces – that is always special,” said Hafenbrack, “Then there are the fabulous fireworks, which are pretty amazing. They go off of the top of Deeds Carillon, 151 feet tall!”

After spending the whole day immersed in the history of Dayton you won’t want to miss a special performance from the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra and Dayton Ballet.

Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra is a veteran performer at the Heritage Festival. However this year, guests of the Heritage Festival will get to witness a wonderful collaboration of the Dayton Philharmonic, Dayton Opera and the Dayton Ballet, who recently decided to merge their organizations into a single entity: the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance. Daytonians should take delight in knowing that this is the first merger of its kind in the United States. Now, the organizations won’t officially merge until July 1 and the performances won’t be unveiled until the 2013-2014 season, but the performance at the Heritage Festival is one of the very first integrated performances before 2013.  The veterans, Dayton Philharmonic, and newcomers, the Dayton Ballet, will perform three pieces from George Gershwin’s ballet “WHO CARES?” together starting at 7 p.m.

With all the fun that is sure to be a part of the Dayton History Heritage Festival, it would be a shame to miss out! So make sure to plan you Memorial Day Weekend accordingly, adding the Heritage Festival right at the top!

The Dayton Heritage Festival takes place Sunday, May 27th at Carillon Park (rain date: May 28th). Park opens 11am, to 10pm.  Free ($5 per car for parking). Parking available at Carillon Park and Welcome Stadium with RTA trolley shuttle service provided. For additional information, call 937-293-2841 or visit

Reach DCP intern and freelance writer Megan Garrison at

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Megan Garrison grew up in the small town of Lampasas, Texas, spending her time immersed in Ernest Hemingway novels and dreaming of being a journalist one day. Now she attends the University of Dayton and is hard at work studying to be a war-time correspondent. Though she is very goal oriented and works hard to achieve her dreams she also loves to have a little fun. She DJs her own radio show on Flyer Radio and makes it a point to attend great movies and local concerts. But her greatest love will always be books.

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