Front Street parking in downtown Dowagiac to close early for Dec. 3 Candlelight Christmas Parade

Published 4:13 pm Tuesday, November 23, 2021

DOWAGIAC — Measures will be taken again this year to help ensure the public’s safety at Dowagiac’s upcoming Dec. 3 Candlelight Christmas Parade.

Officials of the Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce announced Tuesday that in order to maintain a safe environment for the public and for parade participants, the mayor and city council approved its request to close Front Street to through traffic and on-site parking on parade day beginning at 4 p.m.

“In doing so, there will be no on-street parking for the Dec. 3 parade, which will allow adequate room for families to safely watch the event, without the fear of parade units coming too close to the crowd,” said Vickie Phillipson, chamber of commerce program director.

“While we have always been concerned about safety, as the parade has grown, it has attracted larger units,” Phillipson said. “In past years, we brought in an additional volunteer crew, which together with Dowagiac police, monitored the crowd from edging too far out into the street.  The closure of parking on Front Street is another step to ensure everyone’s safety.”

In preparation for closing Front Street, any vehicles remaining on the street at 4 p.m. will be relocated to the City parking lot at Main Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.

Dowagiac’s Candlelight Christmas Parade steps off at 7 p.m. Dec. 3 at on Main Street and will then circle the downtown on Front, Division and Depot Drive.

Also new this year, parade organizers will use a new staging area for parade units that lessens congestion on neighborhood streets.  Parade volunteers will line the units up in the order of their arrival on Pokagon Street, South Front, West High, Indiana and part of Main Street.

Phillipson said families arriving early downtown will hear three choirs that will perform from 6:30 p.m. to the onset of the parade.

“We are pleased to welcome choir members of Dowagiac Union High School, Southwestern Michigan College Select Voices and the United Methodist Church,” Phillipson said.    Performances will be staged in front of City Hall, at Front and Commercial streets and at Front and Beeson streets.

Also new this year, Lincoln Clark, director of the Performing Arts Center at Dowagiac Middle School, will provide background holiday music for the grand procession.

Along with Ascension Borgess-Lee Hospital, corporate sponsors of the holiday celebration include: 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.