Miss Maha and the City

Holiday season? Already?

by Maha Kashani

Photo: Enjoy a carriage ride during the Dayton Holiday Festival

Now that Halloween is behind us, it’s officially the holiday season! Too early you say? Well, the numbers speak for themselves. It’s T-minus three weeks until Thanksgiving, six weeks until Hanukkah, seven weeks until Christmas and … drumroll, please … exactly eight weeks until New Year’s Eve.

Yeah, let that sink in for a moment. I know.

2014 is packing up its bags … But don’t worry! You still have time to make your mark. Check out some of these fun ways to stay entertained this November.

Did you know? Dayton Inspires! Unless you live in a cave, you have probably seen the signs, stickers, murals, printed coffee sleeves and hashtags giving Daytonians countless opportunities to help inspire a positive perception of our great city. This grassroots campaign, championed by UpDayton, is taking on the 800-pound gorilla we call perception. Dayton has developed a bad rap, and UpDayton has worked to shift that perception. It’s time for everyone to help build pride for our vibrant community, be invested in ensuring our businesses succeed and our neighborhoods are safe, enable our artists to flourish and, most importantly, make sure we all feel inspired by the gem city. To learn more, visit DaytonInspires.com.

Miss Maha’s Best Bets to …

Explore the City:

First Friday, Nov. 7 from 5–10 p.m., in and around downtown Dayton

Each first Friday of the month, the streets are vibrant and alive with residents, patrons, visitors, performers/entertainers, live music, cyclists and more for this “art hop” style showcase of the city. The unique galleries stay open late, restaurants provide specials (i.e. happy hour deals at Salar, half-price pizza at The Oregon Express, 15 percent off food at Thai 9), retailers feature exclusive deals and everyone is invited to explore. This month, in celebration of National Adoption Month, participating businesses will donate a portion of their sales to ACTION, Inc. – a locally based adoption agency. Explore. Create. Stay out late! For a complete listing of First Friday activities, visit DowntownDayton.org. Cost: FREE!

Experience Arts and Culture:

Mame the Broadway Musical, Through Nov. 23 at The Human Race Theatre

The Human Race Theatre, Dayton’s professional theater company, is bringing to life the story of Mame Dennis. The winner of multiple Tony Awards, this laugh-out-loud production features the adventures of a fiercely eccentric title character who enjoys a carefree lifestyle, until she becomes the guardian of her young nephew. Set in the Roaring ’20s and the Great Depression era, this performance features classic songs such as “We Need a Little Christmas,” “It’s Today,” “Bosom Buddies” and, of course, Mame. In the words of Mame, “Live! Life’s a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!” humanracetheatre.org Cost: Tickets starting at $45.

Deco Japan, Nov. 15–Jan. 25 at the Dayton Art Institute

Art Deco, an influential style that followed World War I, encompassed bold colors, geometric shapes and over-the-top ornamentation. This dynamic collection of almost 200 works showcases this style of art through a wide range of media – sculptures, paintings, prints, ceramics, jewelry, textiles, furniture and more. Made in Japan 70 years ago, this traveling exhibit rich with history will be “Shaping Art and Culture” here in Dayton. DaytonArtInstitute.org Cost: $12 per adult; $9 per senior (60+) or student; free for children under six

Tackle your holiday shopping:

ARTtoBUY Holiday Gift Gallery – all month long through December at the Dayton Visual Arts Center

Personally, I’m a huge fan of unique gifts. I like brand-name items, but distinctive and creative goods hold a special place in my heart. In addition to all the original holiday shopping options available around downtown, this art gallery turned gift gallery is a best bet to find one-of-a-kind gifts this holiday season. Featuring beautiful and inspirational options, all made by local artists, DVAC invites you to shop for gifts that range from paintings and accessories to jewelry, glassware, furniture and more. The eclectic and vibrant collection of giftable art is sure to make a lasting impression. daytonvisualarts.org

Miss Maha’s “Can’t miss it”  pick of the month

Dayton Holiday Festival + Grande Illumination
Friday Nov. 28 at Courthouse Square

 In 1972, philanthropist Virginia Kettering had a dream to give all children the opportunity to enjoy the holiday season. Fast-forward 42 years later, and this dream is shining brighter than ever. With family-friendly events taking place throughout the holiday season, this inspirational festival launches with Dayton’s Grande Illumination. One of Ohio’s largest tree lighting ceremonies, the Illumination is guaranteed to dazzle the night and kick off a spirited children’s parade when over 100,000 lights come to life. The special event also features carnival-style entertainment and even horse-drawn carriage rides! Plus, a “Gingerbread Homes for the Holidays” contest offers you the chance to win $500. The Old Court House will be open from 4-9 p.m. for viewing and voting on these tasty creations. The delicious details and a listing of all Dayton Holiday Festival events can be found at downtowndayton.org.  Cost: FREE!

I have only scratched the surface. You have so many options to stay entertained in Dayton. So keep your eyes open, your ears to the ground and your nose in the Dayton City Paper. Cheers to a happy and healthy holiday season, my friends!

Reach DCP freelance writer Maha Kashani at MissMaha@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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