Dayton /ˈdeɪtn/ is the sixth largest city in the U.S. state of Ohio and is the county seat of Montgomery County. In the 2010 census, the population was 141,527; the Dayton metropolitan area had 841,502 residents, making it the fourth largest metropolitan area in Ohio, after only the urban agglomerations of Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus, and the sixty-first largest in the United States. The Dayton-Springfield-Greenville Combined Statistical Area had a population of 1,080,044 in 2010 and is the 43rd largest in the United States. Dayton is situated within the Miami Valley region of Ohio just north of the Cincinnati–Northern Kentucky metropolitan area.
Dayton is also noted for its association with aviation; the city is home to the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Orville Wright, poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, and entrepreneur John H. Patterson were born in Dayton. Dayton is also known for its many patents, inventions, and inventors that have come from the area, most notable being the Wright brothers' invention of powered flight. In 2008, 2009, and 2010, Site Selection magazine ranked Dayton the No. 1 mid sized metropolitan area in the nation for economic development. Also in 2010, Dayton was named one of the best places in the United States for college graduates to find a job.
Dayton was founded on April 1, 1796, by a group of 12 settlers known as "The Thompson Party." They traveled in March from Cincinnati up the Great Miami River by pirogue and landed at what is now St. Clair Street, where they found two small camps of Native Americans. Among the settlers was Benjamin Van Cleve, whose memoirs provide insights into the history of the Ohio Valley. Two other groups who were travelling overland arrived several days later.
Tourists visiting Montgomery County accounted for $1.7 billion in business activity in 2007. Tourism also accounts for 1 out of every 14 private sector jobs in the county. Tourism in the Dayton region is led by The National Museum of the United States Air Force at nearby Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. It is the largest and oldest military aviation museum in the World. The museum draws over 1.3 million visitors per year and is one of the single most visited tourist attractions in Ohio. The museum houses the National Aviation Hall of Fame.
Other museums also play significant roles in the tourism and economy of the Dayton area. The Dayton Art Institute, a museum of fine arts, owns collections containing more than 20,000 objects spanning 5,000 years of art and archaeological history. The Dayton Art Institute was rated one of the top 10 best art museums in the United States for children. Dayton is also home to a children's museum. The Boonshoft Museum of Discovery is a local children's museum of science with numerous exhibits, one of which includes an indoor zoo with nearly 100 different animals.
Some historical museums also have notability in the region. The Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, operated by the National Park Service, commemorates the lives and achievements of Dayton natives Orville and Wilbur Wright and Paul Laurence Dunbar. The Wright brothers' famous Wright Flyer III aircraft is housed in a museum at Carillon Historical Park. Dayton is also home to America's Packard Museum with contains many restored historical Packard vehicles. Another notable park, SunWatch Indian Village/Archaeological Park is located on the south end of Dayton. SunWatch is a partially reconstructed 12th-century prehistoric American Indian village; the village is organized around a central plaza dominated by wood posts forming an astronomical calendar. It includes a museum where visitors can learn about the Indian history of the Miami Valley.
The Vectren Dayton Air Show is an annual air show that takes places at the Dayton International Airport. The Vectren Dayton Airshow is one of the largest air shows in the United States. The Dayton area is served by Five Rivers MetroParks, encompassing 14,161 acres (5,731 ha) over 23 facilities for year-round recreation, education, and conservation. In cooperation with the Miami Conservancy District, the MetroParks maintains over 70 mi (113 km) miles of paved, multi-use scenic trails that connect Montgomery County with Greene, Miami, Warren and Butler Counties. From 1996 to 1998, Dayton hosted the National Folk Festival. Since then, the annual Cityfolk Festival has continued to bring the best in folk, ethnic and world music and arts to Dayton. The Five Rivers MetroParks also owns and operates the PNC Second Street Market located near downtown Dayton. The Market has more than 50 vendors selling items such as produce, cooked foods, baked goods, crafts, and flowers.
The Dayton area hosts several arenas and venues. South of Dayton in Kettering is the Fraze Pavilion, which hosts many nationally and internationally known musicians for concerts. Several notable performances have included the Backstreet Boys, Boston, and Steve Miller Band. South of downtown, on the banks of the Great Miami River, is the University of Dayton Arena, home venue for the University of Dayton Flyers basketball teams and the location of various other events and concerts. UD Arena also hosts the Winter Guard International championships, at which hundreds of percussion and color guard ensembles compete from around the world.
North of Dayton is the Hara Arena that frequently hosts expo events and concerts. In addition, the Dayton Amateur Radio Association hosts the annual Dayton Hamvention, North America's largest hamfest, at Hara Arena. Up to 25,000 amateur radio operators attend this convention. The Nutter Center, which is just east of Dayton in the suburb of Fairborn, is the home arena for athletics of Wright State University and the former Dayton Bombers hockey team. This venue is used for many concerts, community events, and various national traveling shows and performances.
The City of Dayton is also host to yearly festivals. Most notably the Dayton Celtic Festival and the City Folk Festival. The Dayton Celtic Festival attracts more than 30,000 people yearly and has Irish dancing, food, crafts, and performers such as Gaelic Storm. Other festivals held in the city of Dayton include the Dayton Blues Festival, Dayton Music Fest, Urban Nights, Women in Jazz, the African American and Cultural Festival, and the Dayton Reggae Fest.