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Friendsgiving events happening in Dayton

If you’re new to the Friendsgiving concept, it’s like a Thanksgiving dinner without your crazy aunts and uncles — even though we love ‘em. 

Friendsgiving is when friends old and new come together and contribute dishes to make one grand friends’ feast. You can either round up your closest buds (or your friends who make the tastiest food) and have your own gathering, or plan to attend one of these community Friendsgivings happening in Dayton. Sitting together while stuffing your face is, after all, the best way to make new friends.

Know of a Friendsgiving event we missed? Let us know and we’ll be sure to add it to the list. We’ll be updating this list with more events as we get closer to Thanksgiving. 

>>The best places in Dayton to order scrumptious, locally baked Thanksgiving pies

>>Which grocery stores are open Thanksgiving?

🍴Thanksgiving Potluck Dinner, Camp out & Campfire

Maybe one of the last great opportunities to camp this season, you can join Great Miami Outfitters for a Thanksgiving meal with new and old friends in the wilderness at Germantown MetroPark. Great Miami will provide the roasted turkey, they only ask you to bring one dish to share. (A simple side dish or dessert of about 4 servings.) The event is also a campout. The $10 registration includes all fees and permits for Saturday night camping.

WHEN: 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17- 11 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 18

WHERE: Meet at Great Miami Outfitters, 101 E. Alex-Bell Road #140, Dayton

INFO: Facebook

>>Where to get free Thanksgiving dinner in Dayton

🍴Friendsgiving at Branch & Bone

Come alone or come with your pals because this Friendsgiving has one tasty ending. One of Dayton’s newest breweries is opening its doors on Sunday for a carry-in feast— washed down with special Pie Beers supplied by Branch & Bone. Beer will be flowing all day, with dinner happening from 3 p.m.  to 6 p.m. Everyone is to bring food to share. A special Pie Stout variant will be announced soon.

WHEN: 3 p.m.- 6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18

WHERE: Branch & Bone, 905 Wayne Ave., Dayton

INFO: Facebook

🍴Zinks Meats of Centerville

Zinks is about to celebrate its third anniversary at its location on 409 Miamisburg-Centerville Road. To give back to the people that have supported them, Zinks said they are providing a complimentary hot meal to anyone who is hungry on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. People can choose between dine-in and take-home. For more information, contact the owner, Melissa Metzger at 937-435-4980.

🍴Feast of Giving

An army of about 500 volunteers are preparing for the 10th annual dinner to be served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 22 at the Dayton Convention Center, 22 E. 5th St., Dayton. 

ABC22 and FOX45; Dermatologists of Southwest Ohio; RTA; Stratacache and Legrand are organizers of the event that continues the more than 40-year tradition of the Beerman Family Thanksgiving Dinner.

The event is free, as is parking in the Convention Center garage. No tickets are needed. 

RTA and Project Mobility will offer free transportation to and from the convention center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 937-425-8300 for RTA information. 

Feast of Giving feeds about 8,000 people annually. 

Visit or call 937-263-4500 for more information.

This event is for people in need or a meal or in need of a place to go.

Pastor criticized for ‘distasteful’ Aretha Franklin eulogy coming to Dayton, standing by message  

An Atlanta pastor heavily criticized for focusing on the ills of the black family at singer Aretha Franklin’s funeral will be the special guest at a Dayton church Sunday, Nov. 18. 

>> Dayton photographer wins huge international award and $25K grant from Sony

On Thursday, Rev. Jasper Williams Jr., pastor emeritus of Atlanta’s Salem Bible Church, said he did not know yet exactly what he will say as part of his visit to St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church , 2262 N. Gettysburg Ave. in Dayton, for that church’s 5:30 p.m. Men’s Day service. 

But Williams said he stands by the message of accountability he expressed as he eulogized Franklin. 

He said the black community is going in the wrong direction and fixing  black families is part of the solution. 

“There’s too much crime. There’s too much negativity,” he said. “My eyes are on the message that I had all along.” 

>> RELATED: Aretha Franklin’s family says eulogy by Atlanta pastor was ‘offensive and distasteful’

Franklin’s family issued a statement in September saying Williams’ eulogy was “offensive and distasteful” and did not focus on the life of the award-winning singer.

Williams said that there is never a “wrong time to say the right thing” and his challenges to the black family is something more pastors around the nation have embraced. 

“All of us have enough blame to go around as African Americans and it’s going to take all of us to to turn our race around,” said Williams, the founder of African American Churches Transforming Society.

The  community-based organization’s goal is to “revitalize churches, strengthen families and rebuild communities through churches working in concert with social and governmental agencies.”

Williams said he has preached in Dayton several times, beginning in 1965 when he met Dayton native Dottie Peoples, a well-known gospel singer, at Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in Dayton. 

>> RELATED: Ariana Grande performs at Aretha Franklin's funeral, some remarked about short dress in church

Sunday’s Men’s Day service at St Luke’s culminates a month of men’s activities around the theme  "Man Your Ground: Reclaiming Our Families and Communities for Christ."

In a press release, Rev. Renard D. Allen Jr., pastor of St. Luke’s, said Williams is one of the most well-known and imitated black preachers of the last 40 years.

“He is also one of the most controversial due to his willingness to stand firmly and speak boldly about what he believes,” Pastor Allen said. “The world witnessed this during his heavily criticized eulogy of The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, when he raised the prophetic question to the African American community ‘where is your soul?’ and then declared we have lost our soul. He cited the lack of male presence in the home as one of the primary reasons for the poor current state of affairs in our community, in addition to systemic racism.”

>> Former ‘Dirty’ Wright State, UD student subject of new 8-part TV series 

Williams will be able to expound on his message and inspire people at the Men’s Day service, Allen said.  

While acknowledging the black community faces social pressures, Williams said strengthening the home is key to solving problems impacting the black community. 

“We can take responsibility for what we can control,” he said. “We can do that. I am just working to change black America as best as I can. I know that starts at the home.”  

For instance, he said black men have the responsibility to be present for their children. 

“Our men must be responsible for the children we bring in the world,” he said. “It creates problems for society when a boy has a baby that he is not responsible for.”


What: Rev. Jasper Williams Jr. at St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church’s Men’s Day service

When: 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18 

Where: St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church, 2262 N. Gettysburg Ave. in Dayton

More info: 

‘Real Housewives’ star coming to Centerville

A “Real Housewives” star with a “rags to riches” story is heading to Centerville.

>> RELATED: Bravo’s newest ‘Housewife’ is a Butler County native

Emily Simpson, a 1994 graduate of Middletown’s Madison High School, is scheduled to make a special appearance at Turbo Zone Fitness, 7917 S Suburban Drive, Centerville, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, Erica Monbeck, the gym’s owner, said. 

Simpson, the newest member of Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Orange County,” will be in town to visit family members. 

Monbeck does not plan to be at the event. 

Just diagnosed with early stage breast cancer, she expects to be recovering from a mastectomy during Simpson’s appearance.

The Centerville resident encourages women to get the mammograms as recommended, saying her cancer may have been spotted earlier if she had done so. 

>> Heather Salazar imagined dying in front of her kids

“I think it could have been prevented,” she said. “I just want to bring awareness. 

Monbeck said the meet and greet with Simpson will be free, but she plans to make the event a fundraiser for a local breast cancer organization. 

Details are still being arranged. 

Sara Moffitt, a 1997 Madison grad and Simpson’s sister, is one of Monbeck’s clients at the “boutique gym” that offers personal training and a list of  circuit style classes that includes tabata, circuits, booty camp and straight strength. 

Moffitt, the surrogate for Simpson’s children, helped arrange the meet and greet. 

Calling Simpson “cool people,” Monbeck said she is a fan of her show and her close-knit family. 

>> Former ‘Dirty’ Wright State, UD student subject of new 8-part TV series 

 “I think it is super cool,” Monbeck said of Simpson’s visit. “It wasn’t even a hesitation when I asked.” 

READ THEIR STORY: Sister’s love brings babies into the world 


What: Meet and Greet with “Real Housewives of Orange County” star Emily Simpson 

Where: Turbo Zone Fitness, 7917 S Suburban Dr., Centerville,

When: 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 1

Cost: free 

3 days of holiday cheer at the Christmas in Historic Springboro Festival this weekend

One of the region’s largest holiday celebrations, the three-day Christmas in Historic Springboro Festival, is this weekend. 

The theme for this year’s event, in its 31st year, is: “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” 

>>Local restaurants that are open and serving on Thanksgiving Day

Don’t let the chilly weather stop your visit, browse heated tents filled with more than 50 vendors and local crafts. Music and entertainment, children’s crafts and activities are part of the fun. 

Bring an appetite because there will be 30 food vendors who will make a variety of meals and treats. 

>>Free Friday concerts will keep your lunch hour humming

A 5K fun run will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday and at noon Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus will be ushered into town in the annual Christmas parade. 


WHAT: Christmas in Historic Springboro 

WHERE: Downtown Springboro, Main Street from Central Avenue to Lower Springboro Road 

WHEN: Friday Nov. 16, 6 p.m. – 10 p.m., Saturday Nov. 17, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Sunday Nov. 18, noon – 5 p.m. 


You are not going to want to miss these Dayton holiday home tours

It is the season to be jolly, and Dayton-area residents are preparing to deck their halls. 

You can see some of those halls. 

>> Our favorite Dayton holiday traditions

Here is a rundown of the Dayton area’s most festive holiday tours and how to take them. 

>> Which Dayton Historic neighborhood is the best? Nominate your favorite


When: 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23, and Saturday, Nov. 24. There will be  guided tours every 12 minutes.

Cost: $15 per person. Tickets can be purchased at

Description: McPherson Town neighbors open 10 beautiful historic homes to the public during Thanksgiving weekend every two years. Guests will be treated to an array of decorations, stories, lights, music and delicious treats reminiscent of holidays past. 

The McPherson Town Historic District is a small neighborhood and the tour homes are clustered to minimize walking. Tours should take just under two hours to complete, including a stop to enjoy holiday desserts and beverages at no additional cost. 


When: noon to 4:40 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1. Tour times are 12 p.m,  4 p.m. and 4:40 p.m. The 12:40 p.m. tour is sold out. 

Cost: Each tour is $25 per person. Call 937-222-2000 or visit for tickets 

>> PHOTOS: See photos from the first night of the 2018 Stoddard Avenue Pumpkin Glow

Description: The guided walking tour includes some of the most notable homes in the historic district. 

This year we have the special treat of beginning our tour in the sanctuary of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 500 Belmonte Park N. in Dayton.

The tour will take approximately 3 hours. Refreshments and warm beverages will be served at one of the neighborhood’s homes featuring three decorated floors and 20 Christmas trees.  


When: Monday, Dec. 3 to Monday, Dec. 5. Tour times are 6:30 p.m., 7 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. nightly. 

ALL DAYS OF THE EVENT ARE SOLD OUT SO START PLANNING FOR NEXT YEAR’S TOUR. Tickets are $25 each and non-refundable. To purchase, visit 

Description: Six lavishly decorated residences will participate in this year’s tour, including this year’s dessert house constructed by stepladder inventor John H. Balsley more than 140 years ago.

>> PHOTOS: Here’s why the Balsley house is worth $2,500 a night

Guides in period hats and capes will lead guests to the homes with lanterns, highlighting the history of the neighborhood and its restoration.

The interiors of five homes decorated by owners will be toured.


When: 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8

Cost: Tickets are  SOLD OUT. They were $20 in advance and $25 the day of the tour. 

To purchase:  

The tour includes seven architecturally unique homes ranging from Craftsman, American Foursquare, Swiss Chalet, Tudor, Prairie Style and Italian Renaissance Revival. The tour will conclude at the historic Long-Romspert Homestead & House Museum, where there will be musical entertainment, snacks and hot drinks. 

The event replaces the society’s annual Christmas Open House.

>> Were Cheez-Its really invented in Dayton? Yes, and here's the story

The Oakwood Historical Society says it decided to switch to a home tour due to their popularity of historic home walking tours. 

>> The story behind six of the most interesting houses in Oakwood 

The self-guided walking tour begins at the Sugar Camp parking lot, where attendees will receive a tour booklet and map. The tour is open to all, not just members of The Oakwood Historical Society. 

The tour will take two hours to two hours 30 minutes to complete, and the society says it can be done at your own  pace.

PHOTOS: Bravo takes on story of former local man who became ‘Dirty John’

One of two local universities’ most notorious former students is the focus of a new eight-part TV series. “Dirty John,” a limited Bravo TV series, is set to debut at 10 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 25. It is based on the Los Angeles Times’ articles and the newspaper’s hit true crime podcast series “Dirty John” about John Meehan and his wife, Debra Newell. Connie Britton plays Newell and Eric Bana plays Meehan, “a charismatic con-man,” in the hour-long episodes created by Alexandra Cunningham and directed by Jeffrey Reiner.

What makes the zoo’s holiday season bright? 3 million lights should do it

Get ready to be dazzled. The 36th Annual PNC Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo kicks off this weekend. 

>> The best Christmas lights displays in Southwest Ohio

Visitors can admire three million LED lights and larger-than-life animal lanterns as they light up the zoo creating this year’s theme, “Wild Wonderland.” 

>>Get a taste of Thanksgiving early with this Turducken sandwich and pumpkin pie milkshake

The brilliant lights aren’t the only draw. Families can take a ride on the BB&T Toyland Express, watch the Wild Lights show on Swan Lake, search for fairies in Fairyland and have photos taken with Santa Claus. 

A special viewing of The Polar Express 4-D Experience will be played in the FX4-D theater. Tickets for show time can be purchased in advance. 

To make your visit easier, and save money, plan-ahead pricing is new this year. Tickets can be purchased for select dates online in advance. Prices for traditionally lower traffic nights, such as Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, will be as much as half less than those purchased for the most popular nights. 

Discount tickets are also available at any area Kroger, good for $2 off adult and $1 off child admission any night of the event. 

>>Budweiser Clydesdales team visits Dayton area


WHAT: 36th Annual PNC Festival of Lights 

WHERE: The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens, 3400 Vine St., Cincinnati

WHEN: Nov. 17–Jan. 1, open Sundays through Thursdays from 5-9 p.m. and on Fridays and Saturdays from 5-10 p.m. 

ADMISSION: Admission varies for dates and times. Plan-ahead pricing can be found at : 


New Barrel House owners to celebrate one-year with EPIC party 

The Barrel House has undergone several different iterations, most notably when owners Gus Stathes and Sara Levin purchased it from Jeff Heater at the end of 2017. 

Since then they've made many cool changes, including adding a new patio and getting very creative when it comes to their events and specials. 

>> Meet the new owners of the Barrel House

Their year growing and creating their new business model culminates on Saturday, Nov. 17 at a one-year anniversary party they are affectionately calling BH 2.0 (Barrel House version 2.0). 

On Facebook they wrote, "celebrate a year of fun, memories, hip-hop, and amazing beer with us. We're throwing down the only way we know how — by tapping the dopest beers we can get our hands on. Bottles will come out of hibernation in the cellar, and we'll have a DJ set from our friend Cooley the Curator." 

Krimmers Italianette food truck will be on hand serving pizzas, calzones and hoagies from 5-10 p.m. 

Cellar keg and bottle releases will happen throughout the day.

>> Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine gives Barrel House an international pat on the back

If this doesn't mesh well with your calendar, there are several other Barrel House events coming up: 


Nov. 16: Food Truck Friday with Greek Street 

Every Friday at The Barrel House is Food Truck Friday. Join them for beers and food from the Greek Street Food Truck from 5-10 p.m. 


Nov. 24: Small Business Saturday 

November 24th is Small Business Saturday. Head downtown to shop and afterwards grab a beer, wine or cider. 


Nov. 29: Wine Tasting 

The Last Thursday of every month is Wine Night at The Barrel House. The wine tasting on Nov. 29 from 6-8 p.m. will feature four wines from Tramonte. 


Nov. 30: Dessert Beer Fest 2018 

Barrel House will be tapping tasty treats from some of their favorite breweries, and they'll have no shortage of sugary snacks on hand. Special flights of all featured dessert beers will be available to help you create delicious pairings. 

Tappings will include: Listermann Brewing Company with The Barrel House - Game Over; The Brooklyn Brewery - 2015 Black Chocolate Stout; Platform Beer Co. - Holiday Donut Cookie and Southern Tier Brewing Company - Cinnamon Roll. Food will be available from the Greek Street food truck from 5-10 p.m. 

Contact this contributing writer at 

>> Wu-Tang Clan member gives monster shout-out to Dayton bar’s warning to ‘parents and prudes’ 


Sundays: VinylVinylSunday

Every Sunday at The Barrel House is #VinylVinylSunday. Swing by OMEGA MUSIC and Skeleton Dust Records to grab some new tunes, then bring them to play on Barrel House’s turntables.

Wednesdays: Wu-Tang Wednesdays

Beer and unedited hip-hop from Wu-Tang Clan and others. Full draft pours are $1 off until 9 p.m.

Thursdays: Open mic night

Calling all musicians, comedians and poets. All are welcome to take over the mic to perform at The Barrel House. Sign-ups that day.

Saturdays: Liquid Brunch

$5 off full flights (six 5-ounce tasters) from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. every Saturday morning.


What: The Barrel House one-year anniversary party 

Where: 417 E. Third St., Dayton 

When: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Nov. 17 

More info: 937-222-4795 or

Bet you can’t guess what these Kettering kids have been doing since their time on ‘The Sing-Off’

Boy does time fly when you are singing at the top of your lungs. 

A lot has changed since seven Kettering Fairmont High School students wowed the nation on NBC’s a cappella competition “The Sing-Off.”

>> Kettering grad on a roll with ‘Today’ show song and new single released 

The then-members of Fairmont’s singing group Eleventh Hour appeared on the show hosted by Cincinnati native and singer Nick Lachey in December 2010. 

Even though they didn’t win, they had an impressive showing.

>> RELATED:  Eleventh Hour has 'no regrets' after judges vote Kettering group off 'Sing-Off'

The crew graduated high school and went on with their lives, building careers and/or starting families. 

>> Kettering National A Cappella Fest full of talent and surprises

They are set to have a reunion during the Kettering National A Cappella Festival’s public concert on Saturday, Nov. 10. 

The  concert features Fusion, the current Eleventh Hour group, and the Las Vegas-based group MO5AIC, former semi finalists on “America’s Got Talent.”  

Doors open at 6:15 p.m. and the concert begins at 7 p.m. 

Concert tickets are $20. 

We caught up with the members of Eleventh Hour that put the group on the national map. 


Colton earned a bachelor of music degree from Belmont University and is currently in the Nashville-based pop/R&B duo Ni/Co. The duo is signed to The Bus Music/Kobalt. Ni/Co’s music has been featured on several Spotify playlists and has had numerous music placements on VH1 and NBC.

>> Kettering grad takes on Nick Jonas' "Levels," does it better


Anna teaches seventh- to 12th-grade choir for Northmont City Schools. She directs the a cappella groups at both the middle and high school. She lives in Clayton with her husband, Jeremy, and daughter, Michelle. Anna is expecting a second daughter in February.


Bobby was hired as a firefighter in the Dayton area in 2011. He is now a firefighter/paramedic for Beavercreek Township Fire Department. He married fellow Eleventh Hour member Emily Gatlin in 2015, and they have a 1-year-old son, RJ. 


Emily received her bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Dayton in 2015. She teaches kindergarten to fifth-grade general music and middle school choir for Kettering City Schools. Emily is married to Eleventh Hour member Bobby Symes. Their son RJ  turned one this month.


Claire earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the University of Cincinnati. She lives in Dayton and is building the wedding photography business she launched in late 2016. Claire is also a recruiter at Barrystaff, a local staffing agency in Dayton. She plans on eventually doing photography full time. 

>> Nominate your favorite photographer to’s Best of Dayton contest 


Kurt has performed for various celebrity events, including former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee’s Christmas Bonanza. He also placed seventh at his local Magic: The Gathering tournament.


Kendall is expecting her first baby with husband Isaiah this March. She lives in Phoenix and is a resident director for Grand Canyon University. Kendall remains in the music business and released “Space” on Spotify last fall. It was co-written with Ben Backus and Mark Campbell in Nashville.

WORTH THE DRIVE: Cincinnati Coffee Festival returns this weekend

Calling all coffee lovers! 

Join home brewing enthusiasts, coffee aficionados, tea lovers and those who just love a good cup of “joe” at the second annual Cincinnati Coffee Festival.

>>BEST OF DAYTON: The 3 BEST coffee shops to try in Dayton

The three-day event will include tastings, samplings, live music, demos and the opportunity to purchase what you sample.

The festival raises money to support the Ohio River Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting and improving the river's ecology.

>>RELATED: 7 reasons why Dayton water is so awesome

"You can't have great coffee without great water," said Rich Cogen, the foundation's executive director. "This festival gets people thinking about that connection."

This year, festival organizers have added an extra day, Friday, considered “Trade Day,” specifically for coffee shop owners, baristas and people interested in getting into the coffee business. There will be workshops on a variety of topics ranging from curating a tea menu to building a team. You can find the full list of workshops available on their website here

>>MORE TO DO: What should you try at the Jungle Jim’s International Wine Festival?

Another new addition to this year's festival is "The Art of Coffee," an exhibit showcasing the works of local artists who have interpreted their love of tea and coffee in a wide variety of media.

The Latte Art Throwdown will be back again on Saturday, Nov. 10. Baristas compete, bracket-style, for the title of Supreme Latte Artist of Greater Cincinnati.

>> NOMINATE: Who’s the best barista around Dayton? Nominate here


What: Cincinnati Coffee Festival

Where: Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine

When: 1-6 p.m. Friday Nov. 9 ; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday Nov. 10 ; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11

Cost: $10-$35.

More info: 

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