June 2007 Issue
All That Glitters
This summer, find your grove in the Gem City.
A wise travel writer once said "every journey has its score." What he meant, we think, is every place - every public market, summer festival or street fair you visit - has a local sound that makes that place seem musical, if not magical, both in the present and in the memories it creates.
This is unquestionably true in Dayton. To a traveler's eye, Dayton is Ohio's Jan Brady. It's not an attention grabber, like the big cities, nor is it as cute as our small towns. But listen to the farmers' stories at 2nd Street Public Market, take in the tales of Wilbur and Orville on a bike ride through the Miami Valley or close your eyes as the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds whoosh overhead at the Dayton Air Show, and you have quite a composition. The Gem City's soft harmony is its irresistible draw. In fact, Dayton is one of the most interesting places to be this summer.
Sunny-season calendars fill up fast, so let us help you with your planning. Here, we've compiled a list of activities in Dayton that are sure to deliver a fresh note. For more events, travel tips and other information about the Dayton area, contact the Dayton/Montgomery County Convention & Visitors Bureau, 800/221-8235, www.daytoncvb.com
Make Time for Marilyn
June marks the curtain call for "Marilyn Monroe: Life As Legend" at the Dayton Art Institute. The nearly 250-piece exhibit illuminates the larger-than-life star and pays tribute to an era when Hollywood's mystery and glamour had all eyes on the big screen. Expect to see her most famous moments, including Tom Kelley's Red Velvet pose that ran in the first-ever issue of Playboy magazine and Sam Shaw's unforgettable photo of the subway-grate scene from the film "The Seven Year Itch," as well as sculpture, paintings and photos that capture the person behind the persona. The exhibit runs through June 24. 456 Belmonte Park North, 937/223-5277. www.daytonartinstitute.org
. Adults $14, seniors (60+) $12, students $12, youth $7, ages 6 and under free.
Get to Know the Grapes
Buying locally grown produce is something people are easily on board with. So why would you feel differently about locally produced wines? The National City Ohio Wine Fest, June 1-2, is the perfect chance for you to meet the people behind Ohio's thriving wine industry (we rank 10th in domestic production, and have more than 70 licensed wineries), and sample some fabulous bottles in the process. Held at downtown's 2nd Street Public Market, the two-day event hosts 14 wineries from around the state, plus the market's regular assemblage of local farmers, bakers, jewelry makers and more selling their goods. You won't go home hungry, and the kids won't be bored, either, thanks to face painting, clowns and other kids' activities on Saturday. 600 E. 2nd St., 937/228-2088, www.2ndstreetpublicmarket.com
. Friday 5-10 p.m., tickets are $15 and include tastings. Saturday 11 a.m.-8 p.m., admission is free, tasting tickets are available for an additional fee.
Ride with the Rangers
Watching the History Channel is fine, but we think getting some fresh air and exercise while you learn about the past sounds considerably better. If you agree, check out the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park's Bike-With-A-Ranger Programs, June 9-September 16. Rides are held on scheduled Saturdays and Sundays throughout the summer and cover three routes, each designed to give participants an up-close view of prominent figures and events in the city's past. The "Flyers, Poets and Veterans" tour is a 10-mile ride through the neighborhood of the Wright brothers and Paul Laurence Dunbar, with stops at The Wright Cycle Company, Dunbar's home and what is believed to be the nation's first veterans' home, among others. Slightly more challenging, the 15-to-20-mile "Pinnacles of Dayton Heritage" tour pedals along the Great Miami River, exploring more sites where Orville and Wilbur made history, plus Hawthorn Hill (Orville's home), Woodland Cemetery and areas related to Dayton's role in breaking the Enigma Code of WWII. In addition to leading the tours, rangers deliver a mini history lesson at each stop, meaning the trip is moderately paced and open to bikers of all levels. If you're looking for a challenge, the programs wrap up on September 16 with Wil & Orv's Bicycle of 1892, an intense ride that recreates a 31-mile bicycle trip the brothers took and Wilbur chronicled in a letter to his sister on September 15, 1892. (And if you'd rather keep both feet on the ground, the park offers walking tours, too). Bike tours meet at the Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center, 16 S. Williams St., 937/225-7705. www.nps.gov/daav
. Registration is required for some trips, helmets are required and all rides are free.
Forage for Food History
America's food obsession is almost as bad as its fascination with celebrities, and the resultant glut of gourmet information can be overwhelming. Luckily, the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery helps us make sense of it all with the Smithsonian traveling exhibit "Key Ingredients: America by Food," June 17-July 31. The exhibit takes a broad look at how 500 years of regional traditions and international influences have dictated what's on our dinner table, and provides a timeline of edible milestones along the way. It's tough to imagine where we'd be without the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, where peanut butter and hamburgers were introduced and ice cream was first made portable thanks to the creation of the cone. To bring this history closer to home, the museum is hosting a companion exhibit, "Ohio Foodways: A Celebration of Ohio Food Traditions." Developed in conjunction with graduate students at Wright State University, the exhibit focuses on food's heritage in seven southwest Ohio counties, using oral histories, family recipes and food festivals to tell its story. While you're there, you'll want to check out the museum's other big summer attraction. "Masters of the Night: The True Story of Bats" covers everything from conservation issues to the misconceptions that surround these nocturnal creatures. 2600 DeWeese Pkwy., 937/275-7431. www.boonshoftmuseum.org
. Adults $8.50, seniors $7, ages 2-12 $7, under age 2 free.
Connect with Culture
One of the biggest celebrations of culture through music, food, dance, craftsmanship and other traditions, Dayton's Cityfolk Festival, June 29-July 1, just keeps outdoing itself. The annual festival (this is its 11th year) offers a global experience in just three short days: dance to the sounds of Latin, bluegrass, African and Cuban music, learn Appalachian quilting or watch master craftsmen make musical instruments, stop in for a seminar about brewing craft beer, then hit the dance floor for a belly-dancing lesson (trust us, you won't be alone — the multicultural dance classes get some of the best audience participation). Every year brings a new set of artists and entertainers, and this year Grammy-award-winning childrens' musicians Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer are part of the mix.
Also of note, the festival ties into the "Key Ingredients" exhibit at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery, with displays highlighting regional food traditions, recipes and cooking demonstrations. As always, the event wraps up with city of Dayton's spectacular Fourth of July fireworks display. RiverScape Metropark, East Monument Avenue between Jefferson Street and Patterson Boulevard, 937/223-3655. www.cityfolk.org
Get Some Air
We have to wonder what the Wright Brothers would think if they had two tickets to this year's Vectren Dayton Air Show, July 28-29. Between the unimaginable speeds, stunt flying and aerobatics, plus the exclusive U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team (which treats jumping out of a plane as logical entertainment), it's hard for even the modern mind to fathom how far aviation has come. This year's show presents another nail-biting, jaw-dropping array of flying machines, including the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds (with two female pilots at the controls for the first time in the show's 34 years) and the Brazilian Air Force Smoke Squadron. Visitors are also treated to a show from Skip Stewart, whose biplane Prometheus (named after a rebel Titan in Greek mythology) will zig, zag and flip through the air in a display of daredevil showmanship that will have you peeking between your fingers. In addition to the aerial entertainment, more than 100 historical, wartime and modern vessels make up the ground displays. Dayton International Airport, 3800 Wright Dr., Vandalia, 937/898-5901. www.daytonairshow.com
. Adults $19, ages 6-11 $16, seniors $16, ages 5 and under free.
Show Your Spirit
Labor Day is one of those all-American holidays, best spent doing all-American things like barbecuing, parade watching and taking in nine innings of our national pastime. Head downtown for the long weekend and watch the Dayton Dragons wrap up their regular season with a three-game series against the South Bend Silverhawks. Be sure to get your tickets ahead of time, since the Minor League hitters have sold out all 7,230 seats at Fifth Third Field since their first game here back in April of 2000. Dayton Dragons Baseball, Fifth Third Field, 220 North Patterson Blvd., Dayton. For a schedule, call 937/228-2287 or visit www.daytondragons.com
Slide Show of things to do in the Gem City.