Archived Story

Summer in the City in need of makeover

Published 10:33pm Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Days or Summer in the City, after 27 years the Grand Old City’s three-day anchor festival seems tired and still in search of an identity.

Light attendance Friday could be chalked up to rain, but the crowd seemed non-existent Saturday, too, despite plenty of sunshine and tolerable heat — especially with 1,100 visitors in town for the venerable Steve’s Run.

This festival evolved through decades from mostly sidewalk sales to mostly country music and dance.

There used to be a lot more stuff to do, such as bed racing, a beer tent, basketball and volleyball tournaments, amusement rides, rock bands and, for several years, a talent show.

Indy-style Mini Grand Prix race cars whizzed around the Main Street boulevard for a few years until lack of interest did it in in 2005.

That year there was even a “Fear Factor” The Marshall Shoppe owner Sue Kazlauskas won.

We were puzzled by the decision to do away with food vendors except for elephant ears unless restaurants revived Taste of Dowagiac sidewalk fare.

Maybe that’s why Saturday seems the softest day.

Dowagiac’s attention turns to the Cass County Fair.

Maybe it makes sense to put some distance between the two attractions.

Perhaps people are just festival-ed out.

Niles struggled to even field a Riverfest for its 20th anniversary summer. St. Joseph retired its iconic Venetian Festival after 33 years.

Maybe its cyclical, like malls, which peaked and the pendulum swung back the other way, making stand-alone downtowns cool again. We’ve got one of those.

This editorial represents the views of the editorial board.

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