The Annual Phoenixville Dogwood Festival & Parade has grown over the years from a one-day event to a multi-day event attracting 100,000 visitors and what is now the second-largest parade in Chester County, attracting more than 10,000 people each year. The yearly festival is comprised of three parts: the Dogwood Pageant, the Dogwood Carnival, and the much anticipated Dogwood Parade which traditionally falls on Armed Forces Day.
Dating back to May 1943, Phoenixville’s Annual Dogwood festival began when Retired Army Major General Edward C. Shannon dedicated a dogwood tree in Reeves Park. The tree was a memorial to the men and women of the Armed Forces, many of whom died in active service during World War II.
The first parade had an attendance of approximately 7,500 visitors who joined Phoenixville’s Mayor, Arthur H. Tompkins, who served as the grand marshal. There were numerous distinguished guests including, General Shannon and Col. Henry Beeuwkes, who was the first commander of the newly opened Valley Forge General Hospital on the edge of town. Regina Glowacki was elected the very first Dogwood Queen by her fellow students through the sale of War Bonds and War Stamps which netted a total of $8,154.85. The parade featured floats from very prominent local organizations including The Rotary Club from Phoenixville who had a horse-drawn float with a large Rotary wheel with the edges of the float surrounded by flags of the United Nations. The Junior Red Cross had a large float adorned by greens and a large “bottle” of blood with the words “That They May Live” and manned by blood donors. And, under the direction of Walter Sample, the Phoenixville High School Band provided marching music for the soldiers marching from the Valley Forge General Hospital.
The tradition of the annual Dogwood Festival, Queen and Parade continue today thanks to the Phoenixville Jaycees Foundation. The Phoenixville Dogwood Festival is held each spring in historic Reeves Park in Phoenixville, PA, between Main Street and Star on Second and Third Streets. Click here for more details.
Unfortunately, it rained on the days that we had planned to go last year (and the year before that now that we are thinking about it), so we don’t have any photos or a review of the festival. Hopefully this year the weather will cooperate!
This year’s Dogwood Festival will be held Wednesday, May 13th thru Saturday, May 16th, 2020. On Saturday, May 16, 2020, be a part of Phoenixville’s most historic event, the 77th Annual Dogwood Parade, brought to life for the first time through live streaming!