PHOTO GALLERY: Dowagiac’s annual Summer in the City event ‘a success’

DOWAGIAC — An energy and atmosphere not felt in two years returned to downtown Dowagiac this past weekend.

The 35th annual Summer in the City event made its triumphant return to Dowagiac following last year’s COVID-induced cancellation.

Festival highlights included Outlaw Tractor racing, a children’s train, zoo animal meet-and-greets at the Dowagiac District Library, a climbing wall, a “Dunk-a-Cop” dunk tank, live music, dozens of vendors and more, all of which were staged on Front Street.

The Miss Dowagiac Scholarship Pageant hosted Fairytale Friends on Saturday, which gave children the chance to enjoy story time and activities with “Frozen” princess Elsa. 

Vickie Phillipson, Chamber of Commerce program director and event chairman, said the event was a success. 

“With this being our first festival following last year’s Stay at Home mandate, the community was ready to gather again and families certainly did just that,” Phillipson said. “With the forecast calling for a 90 percent chance of rain, we had no idea what to expect.  However, the community did not disappoint. Despite Friday’s on again, off again drizzle, families came out and enjoyed themselves.”

While Friday’s festivities were impacted by scattered rain showers, Saturday’s improved weather was a boon for that day’s events.

“Saturday’s comfortable temperature and a slightly overcast sky brought the community out in high numbers,” Phillipson said.  “Festival food vendors and indoor locations, such as The Baker’s Rhapsody, we’re slammed. Specialty shops such as The Marshall Shoppe and Who Knew Consignment reported good sales volumes. Children’s attractions, and our music and dance performances, and lawn mower races were well attended.  Street vendors were thrilled and are already signing up for our fall festival in October.”

The event was a welcome excursion for a community eager to be active again following last year’s quarantine and shutdowns.

“For families, after the difficult 16-month pandemic, it was simply good to gather,” Phillipson said. “It was good to get back out to enjoy what our community has to offer. Most importantly, festival weekend was an important step toward helping our locally-owned restaurants and specialty shops get back onto their feet. For that we are profoundly grateful.”

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