Old-fashioned holiday feel greets visitors to Dayton

FRIDAY, NOV. 29, 2013

It starts the day after Thanksgiving, and there will be things to buy, if that’s your thing.

But rather than door-buster $98 HDTVs, the city of Dayton, Wash., is offering up nose flutes for kids, visits with Izzy the actual camel (accompanied by a trio of wise men) and other free attractions as part of its two-day Christmas Kickoff.

“It’s the exact opposite of Black Friday,” said Brad McMasters, executive director of the Dayton Chamber of Commerce. “It’s just a small-town traditional holiday event.”

Besides shopping in the city’s downtown – at small shops including five-and-dimes and hardware shops, the Christmas Market at Dayton’s historic train depot, the Elfin Craft Bazaar, a cookie sale at the library – the annual event features a full schedule of holiday-themed but low-key events Friday and Saturday.

Most of it is free. And while some events are adult-oriented, such as wine tastings and art shows, it’s a family-friendly event, McMasters said.

Santa is accepting visitors at his Main Street workshop. Mule-drawn sleighs carry passengers from the town’s old train depot through its tree-lined streets. The Liberty Theater is showing holiday cartoons. Christmas-themed characters will wander the streets – with the camel – to hand out candy.

The old depot’s living quarters are open for children’s story time and crafts, and museums include the Boldman House, a Victorian home built in 1880 and nose flute distribution point. A fireworks show starts at 7 p.m. Friday. A lighted parade starts at 6 p.m. Saturday.

Adrian Rogers

When: Events are scheduled at various times Friday and Saturday. Go to www.historicdayton.com/ christmas-kickoff-3/ for a schedule and locations, or call the chamber at (509) 382-4825.

Where: Dayton is roughly 130 miles southwest of Spokane. For those who want to stay overnight, lodging options include a Best Western Plus, a Victorian boutique hotel called the Weinhard and the Blue Mountain Motel. Go to www.historicdayton.com for more information about accommodations and restaurants.

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