The Annual Dogwood Festival is this weekend in the City of Quincy. Today's "5 Questions With..." segment features Alta King, Communications Specialist from the Quincy Area Chamber of Commerce.

1.      The annual Dogwood Festival is this weekend in Quincy. How did it get its start?

(The following answer is from Mary Effrein, office manager for the Chamber, and the Quincy Public Library): In the 1950s, there were Dogwood trees in Quincy. Quincy is the northern-most area in the nation where Dogwoods can be grown. Sometime in the 1960s, the city had a garden club, and the club had written an article about Quincy's Dogwood trees that was published in "Flower and Garden" magazine. Also during that decade, Mary Lou Kent, who worked at the Chamber, decided the Chamber should organize a Dogwood Festival to promote Quincy and tourism in the city. The first Dogwood Festival was in 1969. Mary Lou Kent went on to become a state legislator.

"The Pink Dogwood was adopted as the city tree of Quincy in 1935 by the Quincy Garden Club.  The president of the club at that time was Mrs. Ward Best.  Periodically since then, the club has planted dogwood trees on public and private grounds as memorials to past presidents and other honored members."  Source:  Illinois Room Vertical file, Garden Club.

2.      This year marks the 175th anniversary of the incorporation of the City of Quincy. How is this year’s Dogwood Festival tying into the city’s celebration?

The theme of this year's Dogwood Festival is "#Quincy175" and festival attendees are encouraged to take photos of the parade, concerts downtown, and other events, and upload them to their favorite social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and tag the photos with #Quincy175. This will make the city's anniversary a trending topic online! For the parade, some companies and organizations have built floats that center around that theme. In addition, the celebration downtown will be different with live music from 4 to 11:30 p.m. on Saturday. A Community Faith Celebration will be held at Clat Adams Park on Sunday.

3.      The annual Dogwood Parade has been adjusted slightly. Can you elaborate on how this year’s parade will differ from past years?

(This answer is from Mary): The parade will begin at 24th and Maine Street, and travel west to 7th Street, where it will disband.  (This is one block earlier than normal.) An auxiliary police officer will be standing at 7th and Maine and will direct your entry to turn either north or south.  This system is designed to eliminate a bottleneck an the end of the parade.  There is no way to determine which way you will turn, so we suggest that you settle on a location away from the parade route to meet your rides home.

This year, WGEM-TV will set up at 20th & Maine Street for a live broadcast of the Dogwood parade.  WGEM would like you to be performing as you pass their cameras.  In order to get everyone on television we need to keep the parade moving. Please made sure that your group keeps up with the group in front of you, especially if you are walking or dancing. WGEM cannot broadcast with large gaps in the parade.

4.      How many entries are in this year’s Dogwood Parade?

150-plus

 5.      Where can my readers go to get more information about this year’s Dogwood Festival?

Click here for a link to the updated schedule.