Dowagiac Candle-light Parade swells to 130 units

DOWAGIAC — Much like the setting of a Dickens’ novel, one of southwestern Michigan’s largest Christmas parades will soon transform Dowagiac into a storybook-setting, as the community’s 130-unit holiday procession takes to the streets at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7.

The Dowagiac Candle-light Christmas Parade is presented by the Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce and Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital.

Max Sala is heading up the 37th annual parade with Vickie Phillipson, Chamber program director, and Michelle Outlaw from the Department of Public Safety.

Holiday festivities begin at 6:15 p.m. on Dec. 7 at Beckwith Park, located downtown at the corner of Front and Beeson streets, where the community tree-lighting ceremony and pre-parade entertainment are presented.  Christmas carols will be led by members of the Lighthouse Chorus, followed by the holiday presentation by students of Positively Dance and introduction of this year’s parade grand marshal.

“Dowagiac’s Candle-light Christmas Parade is one of the largest and finest parades in southwest Michigan, if not the entire state,” Sala said. “I am truly honored to be a part of it.  Our central business district is beautiful during Christmas time. A big tip of the hat to those involved in showcasing our city during the holiday season.”

“Through the years, the candle-light parade has continued to grow in both size and popularity,” Phillipson said.  “While it provides cheer and spirit during the Christmas season, it also contributes to the very fabric of our community and is another reason Dowagiac is such a great place to work, live and play.”

Known as one of southwestern Michigan’s largest lighted parades, Dowagiac’s holiday procession is part of this community’s four-part Christmas Celebration, which also included the Nov. 8-11 Open House Weekend, Small Business Saturday and the upcoming Breakfast with Santa on Saturday, Dec. 15, at the Elks Lodge.

“For the second consecutive year, we are pleased to have staff from WGTO Good Time Oldies with us for the parade, who will broadcast the event live from the downtown,” Phillipson said.  “Families parked in their vehicles along Depot Drive will be able to hear the broadcast, while staying warm within their vehicles.”

Phillipson said in addition to Jolly Ole’ St. Nick and Mrs. Claus, the Chamber and Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital are also pleased to feature the life-size Elf on a Shelf, and Mickey and Minnie Mouse, celebrating Mickey’s 90th birthday.

This year’s celebration was underwritten by 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.

Appearing in this year’s parade will be: 

1. Town Crier Jim Torbet                                           

2. Director of Public Safety                

3. Grand Marshal escorted by Tom Starks with Clark Chapel/Starks Family Funeral Homes        

4. Ascension Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital       

5. Mayor Don Lyons & City Council                        

6. Grandma/Grandpa Build a Float              

7. Round Oak Revisted                                  

8. Pokagon Tribal Police                                

9. Honor Credit Union with Cross Excavating and Demolition                   

10. Cassopolis Ranger Marching Band                    

11. AYSO Soccer                                  

12. Cass County Sheriff’s Department                     

13. Creative Vinyl Signs                                  

14. Wolverine Mutual Insurance Co.             

15. Sister Lakes Fire Department                  

16. Sister Lakes Fire Department                                           

17. Cass County Road Commission             

18. True’s Towing & Recovery                        

19. Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz                                

20. Creekside Church              

21. Elf on a Shelf, escorted by C. Wimberley Auto Group             

22. Four Flags Area Apple Festival                           

23. Four Flags Area Apple Festival                            

24. Miss Michele & Co.                                     

25. Beckwith Theatre Co.                     

26. Edgewater Farms    

27. C & M Plowing

28. C & M Plowing        

29. Michigan State Police        

30. Miss Dowagiac Court of Honor and Float

31. 2018 Contestants of the Miss Dowagiac Scholarship Pageant         

32. Cass County Animal Control

33. Jim D’s Body Shop               

34. Greater Niles Community Federal Credit Union           

35. Judy Ackerman Family      

36. Southwest Vision Center              

37. True’s Towing and Recovery                                   

38. Wayne Township Fire Department          

39. Wayne Township Fire Department          

40. Forest Glen Assisted Living                      

41. Cass County Fair Royalty

42. Indian Lake Fire Department

43. Indian Lake Fire Department

44. Deals on Wheels

45. Heart of Miss Blossomtime

46. Caldwell’s Tree Service

47. Caldwell’s Tree Service

48. The Bridge Dowagiac Church

49. First Orchards

50. Little Miss and Mr. Pokagon

51. Brookside Farm

52. Brookside Farm

53. Southwestern Michigan College Symphonic Band

54. Dig It Excavating

55. Dig It Excavating

56. Dig It Excavating

57. Dig It Excavating

58. Feed the Hungry

59. Feed the Hungry

60. Feed the Hungry

61. Miss Eau Claire/Sodus Float

62. Michigan National Guard

63. Dana Knapp Family

64. Positively Dance

65. Positively Dance

66. Mickey and Minnie Mouse, escorted by C. Wimberley Auto Group

67. Chemical Bank

67-B. Mr. and Miss Edwardsburg Pageant

68. Southwestern Michigan College

69. Dowagiac K9 Unit

70. True’s Towing & Recovery

71. Sister Lakes Fire Department

72. Sister Lakes Fire Department

73. Alex Manley Family

74. Dowagiac Area Federal Credit Union

75. Dowagiac Union High School Marching Band

76. First Christian Church

77. Michigan Momentum IOU

78. Morrison Industrial Equipment

79. Mr. and Miss Cassopolis Court of Honor

80. Judd Lumber Co.

81. Cass County Sheriff’s Dept. K-9 Unit

82. True’s Towing and Recovery

83. North Wayne Mennonite Church

84. Myers Forklift

85. Myers Forklift

86. Myers Forklift

87. Myers Forklift

88. Cardio Drumming

89. Cardio Drumming

90. Busy Friends 4-H Club of Edwardsburg

91. Veterans Committee of UAW Local 5 of South Bend

92. Veterans Committee of UAW Local 5 of South Bend

93. Ausra Equipment and Supply

94. Ausra Equipment and Supply

95. Church of Christ of Dowagiac

96. Aaron’s Sales and Lease

97. Crystal Springs Camp and Retreat Center

98. Indiana Michigan Power Co.

99. Dowagiac Missionary Baptist Church

100. Santa, Mrs. Claus, Zeke Shouse and Olivia Grabemeyer, escorted by Chad Burger

101. Little Caesar’s Pizza

102. Sister Lakes Fire Department

103. Sister Lakes Fire Department

104. Sister Lakes Fire Department

105. Dowagiac Moose Riders

106. Dowagiac Moose Riders

107. True’s Towing and Recover

108. Dave Gillesby with City of Dowagiac

109. Pat Harding with City of Dowagiac

110. Tim Ruff with City of Dowagiac

111. Pineview Farms

112. Mimi Sarducci’s

113. God’s Creation Sanctuary

114. Pride Care Ambulance

115. Henry Krohne/City of Dowagiac   

115 B. Travis Greenwood/City of Dowagiac

116. St. John’s Lutheran Church

117. Pure International

118. Silver Creek Township Police

119. Premier Rental and Purchase

120. North Red Hill 4-H

121. Reins of Life

122. Cowboy Up: four units

123. Dowagiac Fire Department: three units

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