DOWAGIAC — Dowagiac will play host to the annual Under the Harvest Moon festival on Oct. 12.

The autumn celebration, which features a display of vintage farm tractors and an outdoor marketplace, offers a full day of activities for families.  

Event Chairman Vickie Phillipson, program director of the Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Development Authority, said the festival site is designed to be family-friendly.

“Front Street will be closed to motorists, as we place activities right on the street,” Phillipson said in a news release. “As a result, festival goers will be able to freely enjoy the day’s activities, with little worry as they cross from one side of the street to the other.”

While Front Street will be closed, she said all downtown parking lots will remain open.

Throughout the day, families can take part in pumpkin decorating, Hidden Acre’s animal petting farm, an inflatable castle, and games and children’s treats hosted by the Miss Dowagiac Scholarship Pageant.

“We’re excited to have Mary Green and Green Dance Academy continue the tradition of hosting the children’s pumpkin decorating workshop, which began nine years ago by its forerunner MKSOD,” Phillipson said in the release. “Since the onset of the autumn celebration, the dance studio has sponsored the activity and will again provide pumpkins and decorating supplies for the first 150 children, up to sixth grade.”

New this year, a live scarecrow will greet visitors to the downtown, while costumed characters from Dowagiac District Library will hand out free children’s books from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Dowagiac Democrats have also joined the celebration at their Front Street headquarters, where they will host a children’s pumpkin carving contest from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Supplies will be provided. 

Families can take part in “Who Knew? Consignment,” where they can make and take home a craft from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. At Beckwith Park, Hidden Acres will feature a petting farm and goat yoga throughout the day.

Phillipson said Dowagiac Fire Department is allowing families to tour the Smoke House to get fire safety tips and meet Smokey the Bear.

Throughout the event, families can ride a horse-drawn wagon to the Dowagiac Area History Museum, where they can jump aboard the Dowagiac-made 1908 Lindsley automobile for photos.

As day visitors await the Parade of Halloween Hounds at noon, families can try festival foods and the Taste of Michigan Wine & Craft Brew event hosted by Wounded Minnow Saloon on its patio.

Festival goers can listen to music throughout the day by Due Process, featuring Dowagiac’s Dennis Ferrier, and performances by Miss Michele & Co., Green Dance Studio, Positively Dance and the Pokagon Drum & Dance Group.

The fall event is entering its ninth season.

For a list of activities, to register for commercial booth space or to place a tractor on display, visit www.dowagiacchamber.com or call the chamber at 269-782-8212.