DALTON The theme of the 43rd annual Dalton Holidays Festival this weekend is “Gnome for the Holidays.” This year’s president and vice president, Walter and Emily Weldon; treasurer, Diane Kidd; secretary, Jocelyn White; and board of directors, Regina Sword, Michaela White and Doug Grimm, and many other volunteers have organized another packed weekend bringing back many of the favorite traditions residents and visitors have enjoyed for years.
This year’s program book is available at local businesses and more information is available at daltonfestival.org and on the festival’s Facebook page. Here are some of the highlights:
- Business Open House
Businesses and organizations in and around the village will open their doors and will be set up to meet residents, visitors and shoppers 5 to 8 p.m. Friday for the annual Business Open House. Village Hall will be open and Dalton High School’s show choir is expected to carol outside. Cards will be available for visitors to pick up and get marked at participating businesses for a chance to win raffle prizes. Visit each location for food, fun, prizes and more. Watch for Santa and Mrs. Claus spreading Christmas cheer throughout downtown.
- Festival royalty
The 2019-20 Festival Queen, Snow Princess, Little Miss Snowflake and Little Jack Frost will be announced during the Downtown Business Open House. The crowning of the queen will be at 7:30 p.m. The 2018-19 Snow Queen, Reilly Green, a Dalton High senior, will crown the new queen. Molly Green, a Central Christian seventh-grader, was this year’s Snow Princess. Dalton fourth-grader Arabella Wenger was Little Miss Snowflake and her brother, Dalton first-grader Paxton Wenger, was Jack Frost. Read more about them in this year’s program book. Regina Sword is the royalty coordinator who assists them as they spend the year traveling to represent Dalton at other festivals and events. Visit “Dalton Holidays Festival Royalty” on Facebook for some photos and information about their adventures from this past year.
While the Business Open House and festival royalty crowning from the night before warms up the festival crowd, the annual parade at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, officially kicks off the annual event. Rain or shine, parade participants and onlookers who have participated in years past will tell you that this fun-loving parade certainly summons the holiday spirit. Watch for Boy Scouts, royalty from other area festivals, vintage vehicles, four-legged friends, Santa and Mrs. Claus, floats from businesses and organizations, Citizen of the Year, parade grand marshal, fire trucks, the Dalton High School marching band and much more. The parade begins at the Dalton Community Historical Society and heads west on Main Street. The parade turns north on Church Street continuing to Dalton High School.
- Citizen of the Year
Every year, the festival committee chooses an individual or group who has made a difference and continues to make a difference in the Dalton and Kidron communities. This year, Dalton High School teacher Brad Welch has been selected.
Welch, a 1982 Dalton graduate, has been a teacher for 28 years with 20 at Dalton High School. His parents, Wilbur and Genevieve still live on Freet Street in Dalton where he grew up. Welch graduated from The University of Akron in 1992 with bachelor of arts in Secondary Education (Certified in math and physics). He went on to graduate from Ashland University in 1996 with a Master’s Degree in education in curriculum and instruction.
Welch’s first wife died from cancer in 2010. Their children, Brittney, 23, is a second-year graduate law student at The Ohio State University, and Nick, 19, is a second-year undergraduate computer information systems major at The University of Akron.
Welch has been married to Donna since 2015.
“I enjoy working outside and taking in all that nature has to offer,” Welch wrote to the Gazette & News. “I like to tinker around and try to fix things or figure things out. Sometimes, I break things worse than they already are before I get them fixed properly. Ehh, part of learning, I guess. Our world and the universe are really amazing; I always try to look beyond the daily stresses.”
- Parade grand marshal
The Dalton-Kidron Big 4 4-H Club is this year’s grand marshal. The club celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. The club was founded in 1944 by Carl and Audrey Buchwalter with four members: John Buchwalter, Myron Horst, Franklin Shanklin and George Winkler. The club has grown to nearly 80 members and has performed an estimated 150 hours of community service for the community. Laurel and Larry Strasbaugh are the current advisers for the club.
- Craft show
One of the busiest events of the weekend is the craft show at Dalton High School. The show is open 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday. The festival committee requires that all items be hand-crafted. At the same time, visitors can enjoy seeing displays, entertainment, Mrs. Claus’ Pantry, 50/50 raffle on both days, turkey bowling at 2 p.m. Sunday, and more.
- Breakfast and dinner
The Dalton Rotary Club has breakfast 7 to 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 7 at Dalton Presbyterian Church.
The Scouts’ popular annual ham dinner fundraiser is 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 8. Diners may want to get there early because organizers warn the dinner may end earlier if they run out of food. The meal is in the Dalton High School cafeteria and includes ham, scalloped potatoes, green beans, apple sauce, roll and dessert. Cost is by donation.
- Holiday Hustle Dalton Troop 922 is hosting its annual Holiday Hustle 5K Run/2 Mile Walk on Dec. 7. Check-in time is 8:30 a.m. and start time is 10 a.m. The event includes T-shirt, awards, finisher’s ornament and holiday refreshments.
Register online at verticalrunnerrm.com. For more information, contact Lisa Gwin at 330-466-1014.
- New in 2019
This year, the baking contest was replaced with a photo contest. The photo contest will be on display at Dalton High School during the craft show 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday. The photo contest will continue with a new additional category with photos of Dalton Holidays Festival, pictures of Friday night events and the parade and craft show. Visit daltonfestival.org and the festival’s Facebook page for updates and rules for 2020.
- Dalton décor and more
Residences and businesses will be judged in the annual lighting contest on Dec. 3. Motorists and walkers are encouraged to travel around the area to see buildings decked for the holidays.
Dalton Community Historical Society joins in decorating for the season. The museum will be open Sunday noon to 4 p.m. 2020 Dalton Historical Society calendars are available for purchase at the society as well as downtown businesses. This year’s calendar features the Class of 1970 and several of Dalton’s athletic teams from 1954 to 2018, such as track, baseball, cross country, archery, swimming and ski club.
The calendars are $8 and are on a cash or check basis. Calendars may be mailed for an additional cost of $2.
The historical society has calendars back to 1993 available for purchase. All calendars feature the 50th year graduating class and various pictures around town and residents. Calendars will also be available at the Holidays Festival craft show.
— Compiled by Christina McCune, DGKN managing editor