Costume parade returns

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Dozens of costumed children will again invade the streets of downtown Dowagiac Saturday, as the local Optimists hosts their annual Halloween parade and costume contest that morning.

Children 11 years old and younger from throughout the community are invited to dress up and participate in the event, which begins at 10 a.m. at Beckwith Park. Following judging of costumes, which takes between 15 to 20 minutes, the children and their parents will take a brief stroll down Front Street, turning briefly on Main Street before winding down Depot Drive, ending at the park on Beeson Street. Participants will receive a bag of candy at the end of the march.

“It’s a fun opportunity for the kids to come out, parade around, show off their costumes and have fun,” said Optimist Club President Steve Grinnewald.

The members of the local service organization are again organizing this year’s event. It’s one of several major activities the club sponsors every year, in addition to its usual donations to local school districts and other functions that benefit local children, Grinnewald said.

“The Halloween parade is more of a fun thing we do for kids, to give them something to do and celebrate,” Grinnewald said.

Children participating in the costume contest will be separated into five different age categories: infant to 2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8, and 9-11. The top winner in each category will receive $15 from the Optimists; second will receive $10 and third will receive $5.

Judging the contest will be members of the club, Grinnewald said.

“We’re usually blown away by the costumes,” he said. “People tend to go all out for it and try to dress their kids really nicely.”

Honor Credit Union is also assisting the club with this year’s event, donating $250 to help pay for the candy, Grinnewald said.