Holiday shoppers can enter drawing for $600 in gift cards open house weekend

DOWAGIAC — People who jump-start their holiday shopping on Thursday, Nov. 8, during the four-day opening of the Dowagiac Christmas Celebration, will have an opportunity at specialty shops to win one of twelve $50 Universal Dowagiac Gift Certificates, as shopkeepers present their finest in holiday merchandise.

The four-fold Christmas event, presented by the Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce and Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital, features the annual Christmas Open House Weekend Nov. 8-11; Small Business Saturday; the 100-unit Candle-light Christmas Parade on Friday, Dec. 7; and Breakfast with Santa on Saturday, Dec. 15, co-hosted by the Dowagiac Elks.

New this year, Open House Weekend kicks off Thursday, Nov. 8, with the evening event “Holiday Hop — Mingle, Dine & Shop.”  Participating store owners from 5 to 8 p.m. will treat patrons to finger foods and in-store specials. At most locations, shoppers will enjoy extended hours on Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.  On Saturday, shops are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. as family events are headquartered in and around  Beckwith Park at Front and Beeson streets.  Some shops are also open Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.

According to Vickie Phillipson, program director of the Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Development Authority, and co-chairman of the Christmas Celebration, shoppers can register for the holiday drawing beginning Thursday evening and throughout the weekend, every time they make a purchase at one of our participating locations.

The 12 host sites of the drawing include:  The Baker’s Rhapsody, Booth’s Country Florist & Gifts, Caruso’s, Imperial Furniture, The Marshall Shoppe, Mud-Luscious, Olympia Books, Rosy Tomorrows, Who Knew? Consignment, Vincent J. Jewelers, Yarn on Front and Deck the Halls.

Family activities on Open House Saturday get underway downtown at 10 a.m. and will be held in and around the Beckwith Park and within Wood Fire Italian Trattoria, the Dowagiac Area History Museum and Who Knew? Consignment, where interactive events are featured.

“As a means to provide families with a warm and comfortable setting in which children can meet with our Old-World Santa, Wood Fire Italian Trattoria has graciously allowed us to use its Pompeii Room,” Phillipson said.  Located downtown across the street from Beckwith Park, our true-to-life Santa will greet families within the elegant indoor setting of Wood Fire, where children will receive a Christmas coloring book and can sign up to win one of two giant gift baskets of toys, plus the chance to ride with Kris Kringle in the Dec. 7 Candle-light Christmas Parade.  Also featured at the event will be a European-styled Mrs. Claus and, new this year, a life-size “Elf on a Shelf.”

Dowagiac’s holiday celebration is co-hosted by Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital.  Corporate sponsors of the celebration, include: the Business Center of Southwest Michigan, Chemical Bank, Clark Chapel/Starks Family Funeral Homes, Cass County Council on Aging/Front Street Crossing, Deck the Halls, Dowagiac Area Federal Credit Union, Dowagiac Area History Museum, Edward Jones Office of Kim MacGregor, Imperial Furniture, John A. Vylonis Custom Building, Mahar Insurance, May Oberfell Lorber, The Timbers of Cass County and Vincent J. Jewelers.

For a full schedule of activities or to register a unit in the Dec. 7 Candle-light Christmas Parade, call the Chamber of Commerce at (269) 782-8212, or email Vphillipson@Dowagiac.com.

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