Ed’s Open Header Cruise returns Thursday following COVID hiatus

DOWAGIAC — A caravan of cars will be cruising for a cause on Thursday.

After a one-year COVID-induced hiatus, Dowagiac’s fifth annual Ed’s Open Header “Cruise for a Cause” will take place at 5:30 p.m. Thursday to benefit the Cass County Cancer Service. According to event organizer Curt Rohdy of John and Curt’s Brake and Alignment, 107 cars in the procession raised more than $7,000 for Cass County Cancer Service in 2019.

To date, more than $20,000 in total funds have been raised for CCCS via Ed’s Open Header.

“This is a good time for everybody,” Rohdy said. “It’s well received with both car owners and community members. It brings in a lot of people. Everyone has a good time and I’m glad to do it.”

Rohdy was forced to cancel last year’s event due to the pandemic but is glad to be back this year.

“It was pretty bad,” He said. “With the pandemic there was not a lot we could do to raise money. Hopefully now we can help them with more funds.”

Participants in the Open Header Cruise will meet at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Thomas J. Mosier Waterwell Drilling, 21867 M-60 East, Cassopolis. A police escort will leave from Cassopolis at 6:40 to lead the cruise into downtown Dowagiac, where participants can gather at the James E. Snow Professional Building for the concert and a cook-out. The open header cruise will also coincide with the Dowagiac Summer Concert Series, with the band Rebel Pride performing at 7:30 p.m. on the grounds of the building.

The Dowagiac Fire Department will be grilling hot dogs and bratwurst for a donation.

The Dowagiac Police Department, Cass County Sheriff’s Department and the Village of Cassopolis Police Department will support the cruise, according to Rohdy. 

True’s Towing and Recovery will supply three wreckers and help block traffic. In addition, if someone’s car breaks down, True’s Towing and Recovery will tow the vehicle home for the owner at no charge.

“True’s has been a big help,” Rohdy said. “They’re generous with time. We’re glad to have them supporting us.”

The entry fee for motor vehicles looking to participate in the procession is $20. Rohdy said that all makes and models of motor vehicles are welcome to sign up for the event.

The annual event is named in honor of Ed Kazlauskas, who along with Rodhy helped organize the Dowagiac Car Show downtown for 16 years. When the duo passed the organizing to someone else, they discussed planning an open header cruise to raise money for a local charity. 

Before plans ever materialized, Kazlauskas was diagnosed with cancer and ended up passing away at the age of 60, on Feb. 13, 2016.

Rodhy has since kept their dream alive and plans the open header cruise in Kazlauskas’ honor.

According to Rohdy, CCCS was the perfect organization to partner with because 100 percent of the funds they receive from donors goes directly to the community.

“It’s a good organization,” Rohdy said. “There aren’t too many orgs that take 100 percent of proceeds. They do it out of the goodness of their hearts. It doesn’t cost us a dime to put this on. 100 percent of the money they get goes to patients’ needs.”

With COVID restrictions removed, Rohdy aims to eclipse the 107 cars that participated two years ago and raise more money for CCCS.

“We’re hoping to see more cars come out so that we can generate more income for CCCS,” he said. “People are interested in getting out. If it helps put a smile on somebody’s face dealing with cancer, it’s more than worth it.”

Cass County

Roadwork on M-60 near Niles begins Monday

News

Spectrum Health requires COVID-19 vaccine for staff, volunteers

Berrien County

Van Buren/Cass District Health Department recommends masks indoors for all regardless of vaccine status

Berrien County

Southwest Michigan organizations join forces to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates, combat misinformation

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Police Department gears up for National Night Out event

Berrien County

Berrien, Cass counties hosting backpack, school supply drives

Cass County

Cass County to host hazardous waste, tire collection

Business

Caring Circle, Lakeland Homecare to host community open house in Niles

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan reports 901,683 cases, 19,902 deaths

Dowagiac

Free Concert Friday caps SMC choir camp

News

Fort St. Joseph Open House returns Aug. 7-8

Dowagiac

City of Dowagiac accepts donation of property for redevelopment

Buchanan

Buchanan leaders hear community development update, resident tree concerns

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Police Log: July 23-26

Dowagiac

PHOTO STORY: Niles, Dowagiac featured stops in Lemon Rally vehicle race

Cass County

9-year-old injured in Cass County ATV accident

Local Government

Mayor presents volunteer with Certificate of Appreciation

Cassopolis

Cassopolis Public Schools superintendent resigns

Berrien County

Niles man gets jail, probation on assault-related charges

News

Two arrested on drug trafficking charges in Niles

Berrien County

Dowagiac woman gets probation, jail time in Berrien County stolen property case

Dowagiac

SMC ETS ventures back outdoors

News

Drunk driver sentenced to prison

Business

Chamber hosts ribbon cutting for Dr. A’s Releaf Center