Photo provided - A group of people enjoy the midway on Kalamazoo Street during the 2019 White Pigeon Days celebration. This year’s White Pigeon Days event occurs July 9 and 10, with a number of events happening, and a parade Friday at 7 p.m.

White Pigeon Days comes back after year away

WHITE PIGEON — It has been a couple of years since White Pigeon Days last graced the streets of its namesake’s village.

After being cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, White Pigeon Community Association President Bekah Carr said she is excited for the annual festival, which is going into its 38th year.

“Last year, we felt lost. It does take a lot of planning and behind-the-scenes work in the beginning of the summer to get it going, so last year I was twiddling my thumbs wondering, ‘Now what?’” Carr said. “I’m glad we’re doing it this year, and the community is amped up for it, ready for it to be back.”

This year’s White Pigeon Days festival will take place this Friday and Saturday, July 9 and 10, with events occurring mainly around the downtown White Pigeon area.

Returning activities for this year’s festivities include the festival’s parade at 7 p.m. Friday, with lineup starting at 5:30 p.m. at White Pigeon High School, the firefighters’ pancake breakfast Saturday morning from 7 to 11 a.m., the midway on Kalamazoo Street, open beginning 3 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. Saturday, a car show on U.S. 12 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, and a fireworks show at dusk on Saturday.

There are also new events that Carr said she was excited about for this year’s festival. These include Home Depot crafts for kids on Saturday from 5 to 6:30 p.m., a magic show by Mike Conklin Saturday at 2:30 p.m., a smash-a-car event from 1 to 3 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, and a pie in the face booth from 5 to 6 p.m. Saturday, which will raise funds for the village’s fireworks fund.

“We'll have coaches from White Pigeon, the high school, I myself will be doing it, and then a couple other people in the community will take some pies to the face,” Carr said.

Carr said she’s a bit nervous to have the new events, but hopes the community will enjoy them.

“We like to keep things what we've always done in the past, but we're trying to add some new stuff and have fun events for kids and adults as well,” Carr said. “It's going to be a little nerve-wracking just because we don't know how our community will like it, but it's trial and error, so if it doesn't take off, we'll go back to the drawing board.”

Other events on the schedule include a Cutest Pet Contest, an open house at the historical White Pigeon Land Office hosted by the St. Joseph County Historical Society, White Pigeon Police K9 demonstrations, a White Pigeon Fire Department fire extinguisher demonstration, a pedal pull contest for kids ages 3 to 10, and a ceremony on Friday at 8:30 p.m. honoring White Pigeon’s citizens of the year, Pete Mestelle and Anne Baechler.

Having usually had the festival on the weekend after Independence Day for many years, Carr acknowledged it was a bit weird to have Centreville’s Covered Bridge Days on the same weekend as their festival, which happened because of scheduling issues in Centreville. However, she graciously wished Centreville all the best for their celebration.

“I hope they have a good turnout, and I hope people can come to both events and support each community,” Carr said.

Carr said White Pigeon Days is a good time for people to get out and about and enjoy the area during the peak of the summer.

“I love people getting out, smiling, having a good time, not worrying about things that are going on in their lives, it kind of gives them a break from that,” Carr said. “It gives them a chance to catch up with people they may not have seen, or see people who graduated from White Pigeon that have moved away. We have a lot of alumni that return for White Pigeon Days and make it a point to come up so they can see former classmates and teachers.”

Overall, Carr hopes people enjoy this year’s event and thanked the community for supporting it every year.

“I just love that this is just a big community event,” Carr continued. “Not only the people on the White Pigeon Days committee care about our village, but the community also supports and backs this up.”

Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 23 or robert@threeriversnews.com.

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