On the beat

Buch’s Christmas tour

By Jim Bucher

Thought it would be fun this year to see and experience as many holiday activities as one can stuff in an extra-large Christmas stocking. And, folks, there’s plenty.

The following is “Buch’s Christmas Tour 2014” and by no means is this a complete list – just some of my favorites.

Of course, the granddaddy of them all is The Lights at Historic Clifton Mill. The Satariano family pulls no punches, putting on a light show that equals no other.

Now there are over 3.5 million lights illuminating the mill, the gorge, the riverbanks, trees and bridges. There is even a 100-foot “waterfall” of twinkling lights. The flip of one switch turns all the lights on at once, transforming every night into a fantastical winter wonderland, beginning at 6 p.m. Don’t miss the Miniature Village, Santa’s Workshop and, of course, the jolly old elf himself.

The Grande Illumination may have been illuminated for the season, but there’s still plenty to see and do during Downtown Dayton’s Holiday Festival. The Rike’s Wonderland Windows with animated figurines continues to bring smiles to generations inside the Schuster Center. Also, the Tike’s Shop is up and running for the wee ones to do their own holiday shopping, and across the street in the Kettering Tower lobby is Virginia Kettering’s Holiday Train Display. Kids of all ages can view this one-of-a-kind model train display that was given to the community by the founder of the Holiday Festival 42 years ago.

One of the best kept secrets is on the University of Dayton campus inside The Marian Library where you’ll find thousands of nativities from around the world, which reflect a variety of customs and traditions. Depicting the story of Christ’s birth and presence, these crèches, as they’re called, are expressions of how Christianity has shaped the cultures and faith of people all over the world. You owe yourself a visit.

La Comedia Dinner Theatre has another holiday show that just makes you feel good: Miracle on 34th Street, the Musical is on stage through the holidays.

I remember the day when you could ice skate on the lagoon by Island MetroPark. Does anyone else? Well, for safety reasons, that’s probably not a good idea, so you can do the next best thing without worrying about falling through the ice. (I can’t guarantee you won’t fall on your can, though.) Of course, I’m talking about RiverScape Ice Skating.

Down south a bit is Christmas in Waynesville. And know what? You can still smell a little sauerkraut in the air from The Ohio Sauerkraut Festival. But trust me, with all the really cool shopping and dining, this is a must-visit.

Also, down that way in Lebanon and just in time for the holidays, is the North Pole Express Train Ride, complete with Santa and Mrs. Claus. It’s a half hour ride and each child (does that include me?) gets a small gift from the aforementioned Santa.

Dec. 13 brings a couple of cool yule events.

The first is Xenia’s Hometown Christmas Festival with Santa (Wow, he’s everywhere!), food trucks and just a lot of fun.

The Miamisburg Community Holiday Event & Parade happens the same day, and a Holiday Evening at Carriage Hill in Huber Heights also takes place on Dec. 13.

Heck, maybe you could swing by all three.

Now, for you big kids, on the same day in the Oregon District, it’s the 9th Annual Santa Pub Crawl, benefiting the local chapter of Toys for Tots. To participate, attendees need to dress in festive holiday gear (at minimum, a Santa hat), which gets them into each participating bar for free and allows them to take advantage of drink specials. They must also bring one new unwrapped $10 toy as a donation to Toys for Tots. And more than half a dozen Marines will be on hand to accept donations. It’s a fun event and helps out a great cause, too.

And “A Charlie Brown Christmas” comes to life at Sinclair Community College’s Blair Hall Theatre. The classic Charles Schultz holiday special is live on stage through Saturday, Dec. 20, and it’s just $8.

Finally, my personal favorite place to visit is in front of my house. (See picture.) My eclectic mix of decorations makes me smile because of the wonderful memories from each piece.

So, until next week, here’s hoping you don’t “shoot your eye out.”

Cheers and Happy Holidays,


A regionally known and loved local television icon for over 25 years, “Buch’s” followers describe him as trust-worthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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Jim Bucher
For over 25 years, Jim Bucher has been a regionally known and loved local television icon. “Buch’s” followers describe him as trustworthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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