Two giant gift baskets on display

Published 12:49 pm Wednesday, November 19, 2008

By Staff
Now on display within the storefront windows of Vincent J. Jewelers and Who Knew? Consignment on Front Street are the giant gift baskets that will be awarded to a boy and girl during the Dowagiac Old-Fashioned Christmas Celebration's Open House Weekend, Nov. 21-23.
"Children who visit our Old-World Santa during Open House Saturday on Nov. 22 will have an opportunity to win a giant gift basket, plus the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to accompany jolly ol' St. Nick in southwestern Michigan's largest lighted event – the Dowagiac Candlelight Christmas Parade," said Vickie Phillipson, chairman of the holiday promotion.
Phillipson is program director of the Dowagiac Downtown Development Authority and Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce, which co-host the celebration.
The children's drawing, which is now in its fifth year, is one of several holiday events that will be held during Open House Saturday, Nov. 22, where family events will be headquartered in and around the Beckwith Park from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The two-part yuletide celebration, presented by the Chamber of Commerce and Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital, is the Grand Old City's official start to the holiday season.
Corporate sponsors of the $7,000 community-wide celebration, which also features the Dec. 5 Candlelight Christmas Parade, are Matthew Cripe Dental P.C., Family Fare and Spartan Stores, Dr. Charles Burling and Dr. Jon Gillesby, Dowagiac Area Federal Credit Union and Williams A-1 Expert Tree Service.
"While the Chamber of Commerce for several years has distributed free holiday coloring books to the children who meet our Victorian Old-World Santa, in recent years we wanted to create added excitement by giving away these two giant gift baskets," Phillipson said. "This is the fourth year for the winners of the drawing to also accompany Santa in the holiday parade. Previous winners have been Eli Veverka and Gabrielle Munson in 2007, Kailey Fear and Connor Casey in 2006, and Madison Potter and Mitchell Kinzie in 2005.
Youngsters can sign up for the free drawing beginning at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 22, at the Beckwith Park, where Miss Dowagiac Lori Key and her Court of Honor will be on hand to assist children.
"The children's gift baskets, each valued at approximately $100, are literally overflowing with toys and are topped off with a plush, white Teddy bear," Phillipson said. "The staff at Booth's Country Florist each year wraps the baskets for us. Sometimes this is a bit of a challenge, as we try to top the height on the gift baskets from the previous year."
Winners will be drawn on Monday, Nov. 24, along with the nine winners of the $225 Universal Dowagiac Gift Certificate Drawing that will award $25 gift cards to each winner, as well as the winner of the new Holiday Express Scavenger Hunt that awards a $100 gift card to the winner.
The in-store holiday drawing Open House Weekend is being hosted by: Booth's Country Florist, Caruso's Candy Kitchen, Front Street Winery, Imperial Furniture, Laurie Anne's, The Marshall Shoppe, Underwood Shoes, Vincent J. Jewelers, Who Knew? Consignment and The Wren's Nest.
As retail open houses continue Saturday, Nov. 22, Theta Mu Sorority Craft Show opens at 9 a.m. at Dowagiac Union High School.
Family activities Saturday will be staged in and around the Beckwith Park from 10:30 to 3:30 p.m. featuring: an Old-World Victorian Santa, horse-drawn carriage rides, an interactive reindeer exhibit by Country Reindeer Farm, the sale of memorial ribbons by Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan, and holiday classics performed beneath the Haggin-Wimberley Memorial Bandstand by the musicians of About Time.
From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. a holiday storytime and crafts workshop will be presented at Who Knew? Consignment by Dowagiac District Library and the Miss Dowagiac Scholarship Pageant and a children's performer, dressed as an elf, will present children with red and white balloon-tied candy canes. Back-to-back dance performances on Beeson Street, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., will feature students of Positively Dance and Encore Dance Company.
Phillipson encouraged parents on Saturday to bring their cameras to take pictures of children, seated beside jolly ole' St. Nick in his beautiful white carriage, which Barb and Jack Fryman will have on display for the community's use at the holiday celebration.
Christmas Open Houses of shopkeepers continues on Sunday, Nov. 23, from noon to 4 p.m., when select shops will feature in-store instrumental solos and duets by music students of Southwestern Michigan College. Beckwith Park entertainment Sunday features the First United Methodist Church Six Ringers at 12:30 p.m. and choir students from Dowagiac Union Schools, under the direction of Jeff Robinson, at 1:30.
To receive a schedule events or to register a unit in the Dec. 5 Candle-light Christmas Parade, call the Chamber of Commerce at 269.782.8212.