115 units signed up for Friday’s Candle-lig​ht Christmas parade

Published 7:12 am Monday, December 2, 2013

While the size of this year’s edition of Dowagiac’s annual Christmas parade will likely fall short of the record-breaking numbers seen last year, it will miss the mark by only the skin of its proverbial teeth.

115 units have signed up for this year’s Candle-light Christmas Parade, which takes place this Friday, Dec. 6. This number falls just two units short from last year, which saw the largest number of entries in the parade’s 32 year history.

Floats and other parade vehicles are being prepared by people and businesses not just from the city, but from all over Cass, Berrien and Van Buren county. Participants range from Dowagiac residents and institutions like the local post office and Miss Dowagiac Amanda Hassle, to larger corporate entities like Fifth Third Bank and Little Caesars.

Like in previous parades, this year’s Candle-light event will be steeped in tradition. Kicking off at 7 p.m., the precession will be led by the Grand Marshal, transported by Dowagiac’s town crier Jim Corbet, who will be dressed in Victorian-era regalia.

Six awards will be given out to units during the event, decided by a panel of judges. These awards include the “Grinch’s Grimace Award” for stealing the show, “Santa’s Choice” for best float or motorized entry, “Dowagiac Borealis Award” for best use of light, “Babes in Toyland” for best children’s entry, and “Carolers’ Award” for best musical entry.

The Candle-light Christmas Parade is the third and final event in the Dowagiac Old-Fashioned Christmas Celebration, the city’s month long celebration of the holiday season. The event was preceded by the three-day long Christmas Open House Weekend and last weekend’s Small Business Saturday.

This year’s parade is sponsored by the Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce and Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital, the latter of whom will be underwriting the event for the eighth consecutive year. In addition, the event will be sponsored by Dr. Charles Burling and Dr. Jon Gillesby, Creative Vinyl Signs, Family Fare, Fifth Third Bank, Front Street Crossing, Matthew V. Cripe DDS, Mahar Insurance, Shopko and Vylonis Contracting.

Space is still reversed for last minute entries into Friday’s parade. Interested participants can call the Chamber of Commerce at 269-782-8212.

Appearing in the Candle-light Parade will be: Town Crier Jim Corbet, Dowagiac Department of Public Safety, Luxury Limo transporting the Parade Grand Marshal who will be unveiled next week, the Army National Guard, Dowagiac Fire Department, Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital, Debbie Peters portraying Mrs. Claus, Mary Safranek of Vincent J. Jewelers portraying Frosty the Snowman, Mayor Don Lyons and City Council members, C. Wimberley Feed the Children, Pleasant Valley Church, Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz, Pride Care, Miss Dowagiac Amanda Hassle and her Court of Honor with their award-winning Miss Dowagiac Float, Richard Veit portraying Abe Lincoln, a unit sponsored by Beeson Street Bar & Grill, 100+ Women Who Care, Fifth Third Bank, the 13 contestants of the 75th annual Miss Dowagiac Scholarship Pageant and Little Caesar’s Pizza.

Parade units also include: Frontier Communications, Pokagon Fire Department, Positively Dance, Cass County Relay for Life, Sister Lakes Community Church, Dowagiac Post Office, Pokagon Band of the Potawatomi Indians, Harold First driving a four-door Kaiser, Number One Gutters, Brookside Farm, Christmas for Rent from Battle Creek, The Timbers of Cass County, Honor Credit Union, Sister Lakes Fire Department, multiple units featuring C. Wimberley, Aaron’s Sales & Leasing, Southwestern Michigan College Symphonic Band and Tender Moments Child Care.

Others include: Caldwell Family Farm, Indiana & Michigan Power Co., Sew Can You Fashion School, Michigan State Police from the Niles Post, candidate John Bippus, Indian Lake Fire Department, Portage Road General Baptist Church, Twistee’s, Team 4-H, Meiser Farms, Dussel’s Farm Market and St. John’s Lutheran Church.

Also appearing in the parade will be: Four Flags Apple Festival, Cub Scout Troop 531, Wayne Township Fire Department, True’s Towing, Miss Michele & Co., Glenwood Snowmobile Sales, State Sen. John Proos, Mr. Plow, Joyful Noize, Michigan Christian Assembly, Miss Eau Claire & her Court of Honor, Ausra Equipment, North Red Hill 4-H, Judd Lumber Co. & Rental, Dowagiac Church of Christ, Cass County Sheriff’s Department, Drafted 4-H club, multiple units from the City of Dowagiac, Uncle Bill’s BBQ, Village Floral of Cassopolis, and Miss Stateline Scholarship Pageant.

Others include: Dowagiac Little League, Forest Glen Assisted Living, Dowagiac Auto Body, Cassopolis Volunteer Fire Department, Dig It Excavating, Dave’s Auto Repair, Dowagiac Chieftain Marching Band, and Jolly Ole’ St. Nick and winners of Santa’s Gift Basket Drawing transported in a white carriage by John Touse of Constantine.