Hundreds gather for the return of Dowagiac Candlelight Christmas parade

Published 10:07 am Monday, December 6, 2021

DOWAGIAC — Christmas cheer was in the air as hundreds gathered for the Dowagiac Candlelight Christmas Parade on Friday.

As residents from around the area sipped hot cocoa and coffee in anticipation of the festivities, the excited laughter of children and Christmas music echoed through downtown. Families talked of how excited they were for the return of the parade, which did not happen last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Three local choirs – the Dowagiac Union High School Choir, Southwestern Michigan College Select Voices and the United Methodist choir – entertained attendees just prior to the main event.

Dozens of local businesses and organizations participated in the parade, including Aaron’s Sales & Leasing, Ackerman Family, Ascension Borgess-Lee Hospital, Ausra Equipment, Ausra Farms, B&J Ranch, Barry’s Automotive, Chad Burger transporting Santa and winners of the Children’s Gift Basket Drawing, The Beach Boys & More, Brookside Farms, C&M Plowing, Cass County Road Commission, Cass County Sheriff’s Department, Cass County Sheriff’s K-9 Unit, Cass County Toys for Tots, Cass County Tractor Pullers, Cassopolis Ranger Marching Band, Dave Gillespie with the City of Dowagiac, Creative Kids 4-H Club and Creative Vinyl Signs.

Also appearing in the parade were Deals on Wheels, Dowagiac Eagles, Dowagiac Fire Department, Dowagiac Police Chief, Dowagiac Police K-9 Unit, Dowagiac Union High School Marching Band, Edgewater Farms, Anna Eubank, Feed the Hungry, First Orchards, For the Love of Health, Four Flags Area Apple Festival, 4-W 4-H Club, Grandma & Grandpa Built a Float, Hidden Acres, Indian Lake Fire Department, JAC Custom Pouches and Janel’s Industries.

Parade units also included Mayor Don Lyons, Micah’s Walk, Michigan State Police, Michigan’s Miss Agriculture USA Shaelyn Bundy, Miss Hartford Second Runner-up, Miss Michele & Co., Miss Niles Court of Honor, Myers’ Forklift, North Red Hill 4-H, North Wayne Mennonite Church, Old Boys Toys, Pokagon Band Ogitchedaw, Pokagon Tribal Police Department, Positively Dance, Pride Care Ambulance and Prosecutor Victor Fitz, Sandy & Rachel’s Medical Massage Therapy, Sister Lakes Fire Department, Southwestern Michigan College, Southwestern Michigan College Bands, True’s Towing & Recovery, Twistee’s, Trent Wallace Tractor, Wayne Township Fire Department, Richard Veit portraying Abe Lincoln and Wolverine Mutual Insurance Co.

Background music for the grand procession was provided by Lincoln Clark, director of the Performing Arts Center at Dowagiac Middle School.

Corporate sponsors of the holiday celebration included 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.