Christmas Open House to unveil life-size snow globe

Published 11:17 am Tuesday, November 9, 2021

DOWAGIAC – Families visiting downtown Dowagiac during this community’s Christmas Open House Saturday will enjoy several family activities along with a children’s drawing that awards a towering gift basket to a boy and girl, plus the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to accompany Jolly ‘Ole St. Nick in the Dowagiac Candlelight Christmas Parade.

Now in its 16th year, the children’s drawing is one of several holiday events staged downtown during Family Activity Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 13.

The five-part Yuletide celebration, presented by the Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce and Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital, represents the official start to the holiday season.  Open House Weekend kicks off Friday at retail locations across the community.  The celebration also includes Small Business Saturday, the Candlelight Christmas Parade on Friday, Dec. 3, the new Thursday evening extended hours shopping promotion in December and Breakfast with Santa, co-hosted by the Dowagiac Elks on Saturday, Dec. 11.

Along with Ascension Borgess-Lee Hospital, corporate sponsors of the holiday celebration are: the Business Center of Southwest Michigan, Cass County Council on Aging, Clark Chapel / Starks Family Funeral Homes, Deck the Halls, Dowagiac Area History Museum, Dowagiac Credit Union, Dowagiac Family Dentistry, Imperial Furniture, John Vylonis, Matthew V. Cripe DDS, Southwest Vision Center, The Baker’s Rhapsody and The Timbers of Cass County.

“New this year and weather permitting, we are thrilled to bring in a life-size snow globe to Beckwith Park on Saturday, where children can step inside and have their photos taken,” said Vickie Phillipson, chamber of commerce and DDA program director, and event chairman.  “This is a unique experience families will surely enjoy.”

“Also new this year, holiday royalty on Saturday will meet and greet children at two locations downtown,” Phillipson said.

At Wood Fire Italian Trattoria, children can meet an Old-World Santa from 10 to 2 p.m., where they will receive a complimentary coloring book.  Next door at the new Venue 132, Mrs. Claus and Santa’s elf, Izzy, will lead a children’s craft workshop, where they will make and take home their own snow globe, courtesy of Michelle and Brian Milnamow, owners of Venue 132.

Also new this year, the Dowagiac Fire Department will have a collection booth at Beckwith Park for Toys for Tots. Families can drop off an unwrapped toy from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

While at Beckwith Park, families can enjoy the Holiday Showcase of Local Youth with performances by Dowagiac Union High School Choir, 10:30 to 11 a.m.; Positively Dance from Green Dance Academy, 11 a.m. to noon; Miss Michele & Co., noon to 12:30 p.m.; and Dowagiac Union High School Marching Band, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

There will also be horse-drawn wagon rides to and from the Dowagiac Area History Museum, which is hosting the 40-year vintage Santa collection of the late Jane Anderson.  Children will enjoy seeing holiday-attired farm animals from Hidden Acres Safe Haven.  For those with an appetite, there will be Earl’s BBQ, along with hot chocolate and baked goods from Green Dance Academy.

Also new this year, families can view the entries of the Gingerbread House Contest, hosted by The Baker’s Rhapsody. Final submissions are due by 2 p.m. Nov. 11.

There will also be holiday pet photos on Saturday at Bow Wow Bakery & Bath, provided by Blue Print Photography.  At Dowagiac Middle School, day-visitors will also enjoy the annual Theta Mu Sorority Craft Show from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For a full list of holiday activities or to register a unit in the Dec. 3 Candle-light Christmas Parade, call the chamber of commerce at (269) 782-8212, email VPhillipson@Dowagiac.org or visit the chamber’s Facebook page.