YOUR HOMETOWN: Redbud Fest To Feature Plenty Of Firsts

Dayton’s Celebration Of Spring Will Offer Plenty Of New Attractions

Posted: March 19, 2014

Dayton Mayor Charles Long, seen here at Braithwaite Studios & Coffee Shop, has been involved with the Redbud Festival throughout its five-year history. “It started on a small scale,” he said. “We tried to focus on blooming redbuds and gave them out for free.” (Photo by Nikki Fox / DN-R)

DAYTON — While the Redbud Festival has been around for five years now, the 2014 edition of the annual arts and crafts event will feature a number of firsts.

The fifth annual festival will be held April 12 exclusively on College Street in Dayton.

That change came about based on feedback from vendors after last year’s event, Mayor Charles Long said. Previously, the Redbud Festival was held in multiple town locations, which resulted in uneven success for vendors.

This year’s festival also will be the first event at Dayton’s new park, College Street Pavilion.

The Hackens Boys, a popular local group, will perform on the pavilion’s stage. The live music is yet another first, Councilwoman Kehris Snead said.

In addition, the Walnut Ridge Boys and Doug Tumer will be performing on the porch of the Thomas House Restaurant on Main Street.

A wine and beer garden is another new feature of the popular festival welcoming spring to Dayton and the rest of the central Valley.

The garden will include alcoholic beverages from Three Brothers Brewery, Bluestone Vineyard and Cross Keys Vineyard.

A beauty pageant preceding the Redbud Festival by a week is also new.

The April 5 pageant will feature girls from newborn to age 18.

Susie Swecker at Mane Street Salon is organizing the event, which will be held from noon to 5 p.m. at Dayton United Methodist Church. The application fee is $35.

Applications can be obtained at Dayton Town Hall or at Mane Street Salon.

Contestants will be judged in four areas: facial beauty, prettiest dress, personality and photogenic quality. Winners from multiple age groups will be announced at the Redbud Festival.

Long, an 11-year veteran of Town Council, has been involved with the event for each of its five years, and helped organize other springtime events for years prior to the first Redbud Festival.

“It started on a small scale,” Long said. “We tried to focus on blooming redbuds and gave them out for free.”

The Downtown Dayton Merchants Association started the festival, but the town eventually chipped in to help after it became too big for the group to handle on its own.

“The Dayton Merchants Association was spearheading the event, but it got to be too much,” Long said. “[The town] decided to take it upon ourselves as of last year.”

That tradition continues this year. Visitors to the Braithwaite Studios & Coffee Shop booth will be given a redbud sapling beginning at 10 a.m. The 300 saplings will be handed out until they are gone.

The festival will feature homemade breakfast and lunch items from a variety of local vendors, including the Cupcake Factory, Strite’s Donuts and Hank’s Barbecue. Police Chief Donald “Dinky” Conley will be on hand grilling his popular “Dinky Dogs.”

Other foods to be offered include crab cakes and kettle corn, among other treats.

Other traditional events include the Ducky Races fundraiser on Cooks Creek and Kids Fishing Day, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Silver Lake.

Carriage rides — which have been offered off-and-on over the years — will once again be available, Long said.

Contact Caleb Soptelean at 574-6293 or

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