Dogwood Parade an annual Quincy tradition
On May 7, 2022, at 9:20 a.m. the city of Quincy, Illinois will be hosting the annual Dogwood parade.
After a long, cold winter, the days slowly start to become warmer. The green grass grows, and the trees will start to bloom. Located on Maine Street, big, bright, and eye-catching Dogwood trees line the street. Dogwood Weekend is a way for the community to come together and kick-off the upcoming summer season.
According to Quincy Area Chamber of Commerce, the first Dogwood Festival was hosted in 1969. A woman named Mary Lou Kent was working for the Chamber and wanted to find a way to promote the city when the dogwood trees were fully blossomed. Every year around May the city hosts what is called Dogwood Weekend. Where the trees are featured through the main event which is the parade.
“I’ve been in the Dogwood parade before,” Ed Rost, local resident, said. “I was Abraham Lincoln, and my brother was dressed up like Douglas we walked and debated. That was the year they had the salute to Lincoln.”
“I walked in the parade during the year with the Vietnam Veterans,” Nancy Rost, local resident said. “That was the year they were working on the memorial over at the Vets Home. The auxiliary and the Veterans all walked in the parade.”
Every year the city chooses a theme for the parade. The Area Chamber of Commerce announced that this year the theme is “Celebrating our community blessings”.
“They’ve always had a theme of sorts that went with everything,” Nancy Rost, said. “They always had a painting. A friend of mine that I knew really well her husband used to do these paintings. They would then make copies of them and sell them to earn money for all of the festivities.”
The parade will start at 24th and Maine street and then travel down to 6th Street. Some years the parade would end with a carnival for the community to attend to at the downtown park.
“It used to start from 36th and Maine all the way down to 4th Street right to Washington Park,” Ed Rost, said. “Then they had the carnival down there with all kinds of vendors and stuff.”
“I think they put a stop to the carnival,” Nancy Rost said. “The reason why is because the businesspeople downtown said they got tired of the garbage being left all over the place that they had to pick up. But every night after the carnival the city convicts would come out and clean all of it up. They didn’t have to do their own clean-up of the property.”
“Those businesses want the people downtown and the money,” Ed Rost said. “But then when the people are all down there for events they seem to just complain.”
“I was surprised that we were even having the parade this year,” Nancy Rost, said. “I thought after not having one because of COVID that we wouldn’t have it again. The event brings people together, but I don’t think it brings in tourists anymore.”