Clifton Mill Holiday Festival Nighttime Christmas Light Display

One of the Dayton area’s most prolific Christmas traditions is Clifton Mill. This historic grist mill, located on a creek in Clifton, Ohio, features more than 4 million lights and a huge Santa Claus collection. As far as Christmas events go this was the pinnacle for many years. The number of lights, the property, and the natural surroundings combine to make this a magical experience.

Every so often throughout the evening, a well-choreographed light and music show is put on for visitors. A real live Santa can be seen in his workshop, periodically coming out of his chimney. There is also a huge, scale-model of a city, complete with cars, buildings, railroads, and hundreds of other items. The Christmas lights, Santa Clauses, and water wheels make this a magical Christmas tradition.

Photographing Clifton Mill Holiday Festival

This year I decided to take one of my good cameras to photograph the lights. While I could do better, I was balancing the time between photography and family. I was still very pleased with these Christmas photos, especially the long-exposure photos of the water wheel in motion. I love how I was able to capture the creek running through this property as well. There are no regular lights on at this property, and they are not needed. The millions of LEDs light this place up as if it were the middle of the day.

One thing I’d like to do differently next holiday season is to bring a tripod and do a long exposure of the creek water. This will give the water a smooth feathered appearance. Although it is the best way to photograph water, it does require the correct equipment. I enjoy being a Dayton commercial photographer.

Clifton Mill Holiday Festival – When To Go

Lastly, if you want the least crowded experience here, go on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday right after work. The crowds are lighter and you can enjoy it more.

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