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Trish Brazo of Huntington taking on holiday parade

Published 8:30am Friday, November 6, 2009

Community organizations, school groups and churches that would still like to make arrangements to appear in one of southwestern Michigan’s largest holiday events, the Dowagiac Candle-light Christmas Parade, will have until Monday, Nov. 16, to submit their registration form to the Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce.

Chamber of Commerce officials extended the parade registration deadline Thursday as they also announced the appointment of Trish Brazo as chairman of this year’s parade.
Brazo is a member of the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and a team leader at Huntington Bank.

At the Chamber’s board of director’s meeting on Wednesday, Program Director Vickie Phillipson said she requested the organization appoint a new chairman as a means to provide her with additional time to work on other projects of pressing importance.
Phillipson, who also serves as program director for the Dowagiac Downtown Development Authority (DDA), has chaired the Candle-light Christmas Parade for the past several years and was instrumental in taking the parade from a Saturday afternoon event of 25 to 30 units to today’s 100-unit lighted procession.

She has worked for the City of Dowagiac and the Chamber of Commerce for 19 years.
Chamber of Commerce President Dr. Timothy Dowsett said of the personnel change, “I am pleased to have Trish step up to the plate to take over one of our most welcomed events put on by the Chamber of Commerce.

“Trish always has a great attitude that makes our festivals that much better. I am proud to have her serve as chairman of our Christmas parade.”

While the shift in chairmanship for the parade is taking place, Phillipson will continue to raise funding to underwrite the two-part $6,500 Old-Fashioned Christmas Celebration, which also features Dowagiac’s upcoming Open House Weekend, Nov. 20-22, that she continues to oversee.

Parade registration forms are available by calling the Chamber of Commerce at 782-8212 or by visiting the Chamber office in the train station on Depot Drive.

Registration forms are also available by calling Brazo at Huntington Bank, 782-6810.

The Candle-light Christmas Parade, which in recent years has become one of southwestern Michigan’s largest holiday events, is slated for Friday, Dec. 4, and will feature a new start time of 7 p.m.

Pre-parade entertainment is scheduled to begin at 6:30 at Front and Main streets, where the master of ceremony’s viewing stage will be located.

Parade units will begin to line up at 6 p.m.

Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital and the Chamber of Commerce host the 28th annual Old-Fashioned Christmas Celebration’s Open House Weekend Nov. 20-22 and its Dec. 4 Candle-light Parade.

Phillipson said event costs have been underwritten, in part, by the following corporate sponsors: Matthew Cripe Dental P.C.,  Dr. Charles Burling and Dr. Jon Gillesby, Family Fare and Spartan Stores, Dowagiac Area Federal Credit Union and Wood Fire Italian Trattoria.

Brazo said she was pleased to step forward this week in her new role as parade chairman.  She will also be serving this spring as chairman of this year’s Easter Eggstravaganza.
Brazo encourages parade units to use Christmas lighting on their floats, as together they create a spectacular parade of lights.   “People walking alongside floats or riding in horse-drawn buggies should also consider holding candles or battery-operated candles.  To make this truly  a  magical evening for all to enjoy, we encourage parade entries to use their imaginations, and lots and lots of tiny white lights!”

Entry into the parade is open free of charge to the public, schools, churches, community organizations and businesses.  “The only thing we ask is that each of the units is decorated in some fashion for the holidays,” Brazo added.

Due to the popularity of the event and its increasing number of entries that traditionally exceed 100, and to provide for proper planning, Brazo said registration forms will not be accepted after Nov. 16.

Approximately 10 days prior to the event, units will receive their line-up materials.
Due to staffing limitations, she said the organization can no longer accept last-minute entries.

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