A tradition bringing people together for generations

Dogwood goers watch as dancers perform at Washington Park.

It felt like a scorcher Saturday if you were one of the many Tri-State residents in Quincy for this weekend's Dogwood Festival.

Hundreds, if not thousands of people lined Maine Street Saturday morning for the annual parade. Overall, 139 entries made their way from 24th Street down to Sixth. After the nearly 3-hour-long parade, the crowd headed to Washington Park where the Dogwood celebrations continued.

For many visitors, the festival is a tradition that brings back happy memories.

"[I've been coming] since the very beginning," said Cathy Becks. "I do remember Mary Lou Kent and I think we've been doing these for that long."

Becks has been coming to the Dogwood Festival since it began in 1969 by Mary Lou Kent. Originally, Kent wanted to host a celebration in honor of the blooming Dogwood trees in the city.

"Its been a tradition in our family to always come down for the parades and the track races," said Becks. "The kids used to have Hot Wheel bikes and we used to bring them down and line them up on the street. It was a ball, so now we're doing it with the next generation."

This year, Becks brought her granddaughter to the festival. She wasn't the only one taking in new experiences with the festivities.

"I've been twice," said Shane Nickell. "I've been in the parade and this year I got to actually watch for the first time.
It brings everybody together, little kids, family, veterans, everyone from Quincy and the local communities. It's just something that needs to continue."

The feeling of togetherness is something other Dogwood goers share.

"What's your favorite?--Always coming here and meeting new people," said Megan McDowell, a ten year Dogwood attendee.

"It seems like everyone is just really together because everyone is just in one big mess of a people," said Isabella Fernandez, a second timer at the Dogwood Festival.

"It draws everybody together, it's a good thing," said Becks.