Old-fashioned holiday feel greets visitors to Dayton

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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