25th annual festival tunes up Thursday, July 29, 11 a.m.Published 9:53pm Thursday, July 15, 2010
If you enjoy boot-scootin’ to your favorite country music, get ready for some country rockin’, foot stompin’, good time cowboy rock, presented by The Outta Towners and Due Process, as both entertainment groups return to downtown Dowagiac for the July 29-31 “Summer in the City” Festival, featuring The Taste of Dowagiac and its Sizzlin’ Hot Sidewalk Days.
Hosted by Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce, the three-day summertime bash now in its 25th year, was underwritten by seven corporate sponsors and a $10,000 fine arts grant awarded to the Dowagiac Downtown Development Authority from St. Denys Foundation of Dowagiac.
Corporate sponsors include the Army National Guard, Creative Vinyl Signs, Dr. Charles Burling and Dr. Jon Gillesby, Leader Publications, Dr. Alan Montgomery, Lyons Industries and Southwestern Michigan College.
“Local residents are sure to recognize city employee Dennis Ferrier, who is best known for his dazzling guitar performances, as he balances his instrument above and behind his head, while strumming the chords,” said Vickie Phillipson, program director for the Chamber of Commerce and DDA, who is overseeing fund raising and entertainment scheduling for this year’s event.
The Outta Towners kick off the festival’s vocal and instrumental entertainment at Beckwith Park on Thursday, July 29, beginning at 11 a.m., as they play through the afternoon.
Country music fans will also recognize The Outta Towners’ vocalist and guitarist Ron Miller of Goshen, Ind., and keyboard player Paul Rose, who are two of the five musicians who also comprise one of the festival’s veteran groups,
Due Process takes center stage on Saturday, July 31, at 10 a.m. for its day-long performance.
“Their extensive backgrounds allow members of The Outta Towners and Due Process to play to the likes of just about any audience, which is why they’re such great musicians to work with,” said Phillipson, who first brought Due Process to Dowagiac more than 13 years ago after seeing its performance at Amish Acres in Nappanee, Ind.
Phillipson said “rockin’ twang” is how members of The Outta Towners describe their brand of music.
“Festival goers can count on boot-scootin’ to their favorite country hits or dancing to select R&B standards, classic rock, funky blues and everything in between.”
Ferrier said the music of Due Process is similar to The Outta Towners, but with some bluegrass thrown in.
Whether it’s country or soft rock, music critics have said the vocal harmonies of The Outta Towners and Due Process are rich, full and second to none, with the rhythm sections among the tightest in Michiana.
The 25th annual summertime event features more than 50 hours of vocal and instrumental music, specialty entertainment, sporting activities, children’s events and interactive workshops, and the third annual Taste of Dowagiac, as visiting food vendors and downtown restaurants serve festival goers from their open-air, sidewalk booths.
Performances also include those by: Positively Dance, Kalamazoo Avenue Band, Wildfire, Encore Dance Company, Miss Kathy’s School of Dance and Dowagiac rock band Down Shift.
Family activities feature: children’s games hosted by Dowagiac Band Boosters, Blueberry Hill pony rides and petting zoo, children’s inflatables provided by Judd Lumber Building Supply and Rental Center and the Army National Guard, a climbing rock wall and children’s clothesline art hosted by Lighthouse Children’s Center.
The Children’s Entertainment Tent on July 29 features the Bear Bus, which is Indiana’s first and only mobile bus for “stuff your own Teddy Bears” and “Make a Splash” storytime and crafts, hosted by Dowagiac District Library and the Chamber of Commerce; “Aviation Takes Flight,” an interactive children’s workshop hosted on Friday by the Museum at Southwestern Michigan College, and the Ronald McDonald magic show; and the Curious Kids Museum from St. Joseph on Saturday.
There are also horse-drawn carriage rides and the Little Smilin’ Choo Choo festival train, summer sidewalk sales with community and commercial booths and the Ladies Library Association Book Sale.
The library is also hosting sidewalk chalk art on Thursday and a magic show on Friday by John Dudley.
Special events on Saturday feature the acclaimed 5K and 10K Steve’s Run of Southwestern Michigan College, the 17th annual Take Off With Hospice Drawing and Rubber Duckie Races hosted by Dowagiac Fine Arts Boosters.