Country star to open festival in the Grand Old City

Published 9:21 am Thursday, July 2, 2015

Submitted photo.

Submitted photo.

DOWAGIAC, Mich. — Action events, roaming street performers, chalk artists, along with live music and dance headline the 30th annual Dowagiac Summer in the City Festival, July 16-19.

This community’s largest and oldest summertime gala is being funded this year by 13 corporate sponsors and a grant received by The Pokagon Fund. The announcement was made this week by Vickie Phillipson, program director for the Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce and DDA, who handles grant writing and raises the monies needed to fund the presentation of vocal, instrumental and specialty entertainment. She also oversees advertising and advance publicity for the event.

“While the festival in recent years had been funded primarily by grant dollars, this year’s event truly represents a strong commitment to our community by local corporations that have stepped forward to help underwrite the $12,000 four-day event,” Phillipson said.

In addition to the $500 grant from The Pokagon Fund, the Chamber is pleased to welcome the following corporate sponsors: AK Montgomery, Burling & Gillesby DDS, Chemical Bank, Clark Chapel, Creative Vinyl Signs, D. MottL Realty, Kim MacGregor’s Office of Edward Jones, Family Fare, Four Winds Casino, Lyons Industries, Southwestern Michigan College, Wightman & Associates and Wolverine Mutual Insurance Co.

New this year, Summer in the City will be held a week earlier, thereby allowing a week’s time between the Dowagiac festival and the Cass County Fair. The festival kicks off Thursday evening, July 16, as American Idol contender Jared Knox takes the stage at Beckwith Park. Knox, who is said to be one of the finest up and coming Country musicians in SW Michigan, has opened for such Country greats as Lorrie Morgan, Chris Cagle and Tracy Lawrence. Phillipson said the special two-hour performance is being presented in conjunction with the Beckwith Park Summer Concert Series, which has been underwritten by Huntington Bank.

The festival events center, named The ‘Jack, which is a spinoff of the phonetic pronunciation of Doe-Wah-Jack, also opens Thursday evening within its new location in and around Beckwith Park. Sponsored by Beeson Street Bar & Grill, festival goers will also enjoy grilled brats, hot dogs and corn on the cob, and evening music presented by Mobile DJ Sound Productions.

Phillipson said organizers plan to close Front Street to through-traffic Friday and Saturday, as the specialty shops present their summer sidewalk sales. Non-profit and commercial vendors are also invited to join the festival by contacting the Chamber at (269) 782-8212 or by e-mail at

Activities will again extend into Sunday, as ACTION hosts more live music and an ice cream social beginning at 5 p.m. at Beckwith Park.

Festival organizers are pleased to present a variety of music and dance, from Country to today’s favorite covers. Appearing at the festival will be: The Outta Towners, Miss Michele & Co., Rebel Pride, MKSOD and Positively Dance, along with the Pokagon Band Drum & Dance Troop.

To receive a schedule of events, call the Chamber of Commerce at 269.782.8212 or visit www.Dowagiac