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The Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill

The Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill was one of the nominees in
USA TODAY'S 10 Best Readers' Choice 2014 travel award contest!


Clifton Mill            75 Water St.            Clifton, OH 45316            GPS: 39.7986, -83.8259

 For 28 years Clifton Mill has celebrated the Christmas season in a very special way.  Our light display, featured in Midwest Living and Ohio Magazine, is one of the country's finest with over 3.5 million lights illuminating the mill, the gorge, the riverbanks, trees and bridges.  There is even a 100 foot "waterfall" of twinkling lights.  The flip of one switch turns all the lights on at once transforming night into a fantastical winter wonderland which includes a Miniature Village, a Santa Claus Museum , a Toy Collection and a spectacular synchronized lights and music show that features the old Covered Bridge.  Every night until the night before Christmas Eve you can peek into Santa's Workshop to see a live Santa at work and then, every 15 minutes or so, watch him check his list and go up the chimney to load his sleigh.

Need Lodging?

Start date: 11/27/15
End date: 12/31/15

Marriott hotel(s) offering your special group rate:

  Courtyard Dayton Beavercreek  for 140.00 USD  per night

  Residence Inn Dayton Beavercreek  for 160.00 USD  - 180.00 USD  per night

Book your group rate for Winter Wonderland



FAQ about the Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill

Where is Clifton, Ohio?

Clifton is about 30 miles E of Dayton, 40 miles SW of Columbus, 9 miles S of Springfield, 8 miles NE of Xenia, 3 miles E of Yellow Springs, 3 miles N of Cedarville in Greene County.    Click here for detailed directions.

What are the Dates?

The light display starts the day after Thanksgiving and is on every night through December 31.
On Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year's Eve we close at 8 pm.
What are the Hours?
  Gates open every day at 5 pm, the lights come on at 6 pm.
Gates close at 9 pm; lights go off 30 minutes after gates close.
On Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year's Eve we close at 8 pm.
Do I have to pay for parking?
  NO! Parking is FREE.
What is the best night to come?
  Monday through Thursday is MUCH less crowded.  Saturday is the MOST CROWDED.
How much does it cost?
  Admission is $10 per person for everyone age 7 and older.    Children 6 and under get in Free!
Can I use a Clifton Mill Gift Certificate for admission to the Christmas Display?
  Yes! Click here to purchase a Gift Certificate.
Do you take Credit Cards?
  We accept Master Card & Visa, but cash gets you through the gate much quicker.
Do you take Debit Cards?
  We accept Debit Cards that have a Master Card or Visa logo.
Do you serve food during the Christmas lights?
  We serve Hot Dogs, BBQ Pork Sandwich, Soup, Cornbread, Hot Chocolate, Cookies, Pie, Popcorn, Soft Drinks.
Are you open in the rain or snow?
  We do not open in SEVERE weather or HEAVY RAIN.  Current information is posted at the top of this page and is updated immediately when the information changes. If you need more information, call 937-767-5501.
Is it wheelchair and stroller accessible?
  Yes.  Strollers are NOT allowed inside the buildings to protect the safety of the baby.
Group Discount?
  Groups of 15 or more can get $1 per person discount IF one person pays for the entire group.
Senior, Student, Military Discount?
Are Pets allowed?
Is it inside or outside?
  The Gift Shop and Santa Museum are inside, Miniature Village and the Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill are outside.
Can children sit on Santa's lap and have their picture taken?
  No.  Santa comes to Clifton Mill to make toys in his workshop and load them in his sleigh.
How long is Santa at Clifton Mill?
Santa leaves the mill when we close on the night before Christmas Eve to do his yearly rounds.
How long does it take to put up 3.5 million lights?

It takes 6 men most of 3 months to put up the display.

The old covered bridge is a spectacular addition to The Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill. The bridge, its windows, roof, sides and bottom are covered in lights of various colors as are pseudo trees which flank the bridge. Every hour, on the hour, all 3.5 million lights at Clifton Mill go out leaving guests in total darkness. As a hush falls over the spectators, orchestral music softly begins to play a medley of traditional Christmas songs and some of the lights on the covered bridge begin to twinkle on and then off again. As the music builds and builds, more and more lights on the covered bridge blink off and on in time to the music, lights on the pseudo trees swirl around and change color in a way that seems impossible. By the end of the song, the music is booming through Clifton Gorge, the lights on the covered bridge have become mesmerizing and everyone watching is completely enthralled. Then the music ends and the bridge lights all go out, once again leaving guests in total darkness. Then, before most spectators can catch their breath, 3.5 million lights come on again all at once!


Clifton Mill has an outdoor miniature village on display during the Christmas season that is the delight of everyone.  The miniature village has recreations of many of Clifton's historic buildings plus a 1950s diner, a light parade going down the main street and two trains that go around the village and across a covered bridge on the mill race stream.  On the outskirts of the village there is a drive-in movie theatre that shows old film clips, a frozen pond with ice skaters, a football game in progress and a country fair with moving bumper cars and Ferris wheel.

The Santa Claus Museum houses the private collection of the Satariano family which has taken nearly 40 years to amass.  There are over 3000 examples of Santa Claus on display dating from as far back as 1850.  Some are mechanical, some are toys, some are advertising items, some are weird, some are elegant, some are rustic, all are interesting. The nostalgic Toy Collection features gifts of Christmas' past. Under the Christmas trees are gifts typical of several eras.

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