PHOTO STORY: Annual Ed’s Open Header Cruise rolls through Dowagiac

Published 2:30 pm Friday, July 28, 2023

DOWAGIAC — The revving of engines and the screeching of tires could be heard throughout downtown as the seventh annual Ed’s Open Header “Cruise for a Cause” rolled into Dowagiac.

More than 100 vehicles participated in this year’s event, with more than $6,035 raised in total between the procession and a raffle facilitated by Honor Credit Union. 

To date, more than $44,000 in Open Header funds have been raised for Cass County Cancer Service, a volunteer-run organization that provides support for those undergoing cancer treatment, from helping patients pay for gas to get them to and from treatments to rides to doctor’s appointments and more.

“Every dime that is raised stays in Cass County,” said Ray Klomes of the Cass County Cancer Service. “All of the money that is raised goes to somebody in Cass County who has cancer. We can’t say ‘thank you’ enough.”

The annual event is named in honor of Ed Kazlauskas, who along with event organizer Curt 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 came together, Kazlauskas was diagnosed with cancer and passed away at the age of 60, on Feb. 13, 2016.

Open Header participants gathered at Thomas J. Mosier Waterwell Drilling, 21867 M-60 E., Cassopolis before the police escort led the cruise into downtown Dowagiac, where participants and community members gathered along Main Street.

The event coincided with the Dowagiac Summer Concert Series, which this week featured Touch of Texas performing under the Dowagiac District Library Pavilion. The Dowagiac Fire Department also grilled hot dogs and bratwurst for a donation.

Rohdy thanked the Dowagiac Police Department, Cass County Sheriff’s Department and the Village of Cassopolis Police Department and True’s Towing and Recovery for supporting the event.