Phoenixville >> Phoenixville’s annual week long celebration of its commitment to service and community has kicked off and will continue into Saturday.
The 75th Annual Dogwood Festival and Parade will attract more than 100,000 visitors to the region throughout the week. And some additional 13,000-plus spectators will line the parade route on Saturday.
The annual event will feature a variety of entertainment including carnival games, live music, the crowning of the Dogwood Queen and, of course, a parade starting at 1 p.m. on May 19.
Although renowned for its food, rides, and carnival games, the Dogwood Festival also benefits 15 nonprofits from the Phoenixville area through grants and indirectly supports more than 30 nonprofits that sell concessions and host informational tables.
New for 2018, the Dogwood Parade will be streamed live online, courtesy of Voxipop, affording viewers the opportunity to watch a live-produced broadcast that will rival any major televised parade. Voxipop, the creative idea of the Phoenix Media Group in Kimberton, combines the latest technology with creative talent to deliver high-quality video programming to the community. The parade will be available on-demand on the Voxipop.com network and will also be broadcast on cable TV on The Phoenixville Network (TPN- Comcast channel 22 and Verizon channel 29) starting May 21 through June 1 at 7 p.m. each Monday, Wednesday and Friday evening.
This year’s grand marshal for the parade will be Andre Thornton. Originally signed out of Phoenixville Area High School as an Amateur free agent by the Philadelphia Phillies, Andre Thornton enjoyed a 14-year career in Major League baseball. This included stints with the Atlanta Braves, the Chicago Cubs, and the Montreal Expos, before landing with the Cleveland Indians, where he played the final 11 years of his career (1977-1987). Thornton has also received numerous Phoenixville honors. In 1982, on “Andre Thornton Day” he was given the key to Phoenixville. In August 2010, “Andre Thornton Park” was opened on the north side of Phoenixville. His number 29 was retired by the Phoenixville Area High School Phantoms in 2017.
Phoenixville’s Dogwood tradition dates back to May 1943, when Retired Army Major General Edward C. Shannon dedicated a dogwood tree in Reeves Park as a memorial to the men and woman of the Armed Forces, many of whom had died in active service during World War II.
The first parade welcomed an estimated 7,500 visitors, and the first Dogwood Queen was 1943 Phoenixville High School graduate Regina Glowacki, who was elected by her fellow students through the sale of War Bonds and War Stamps.
Sponsors for the affair include Videon Chevrolet of Phoenixville, Benchmark Federal Credit Union, Magic Memories Child Care, Phoenixville First, Phoenixville Regional Chamber of Commerce, R. Strunk Funeral Home, Crowded Castle Brewery, Bistro on Bridge, Cameron Peter’s Florist, Voxipop.com, Applied Video Technologies, Kimberton Conference Center, Eittinger-Powers-Campbell VFW Post 1564 and Phoenixville Jaycees.
For more information on festival hours and events visit phoenixvillejaycees.org.