Dexter Daze Festival, the Timeless Summer Celebration Returns


Much to everyone’s delight and anticipation, Dexter Daze returns this year, capping off a festive summer of fun for area residents.

We know it as a fun couple of days every year on the second weekend in August. However, it may surprise some that the summer festival’s roots run far back into Dexter’s rich history long before it was called “Dexter Daze.”

Dexter businesses have been hosting an outdoor community event each summer for almost as long as there has been a Dexter. Back in the distant day, the event was centered around businesses selling off their surplus seasonal goods in a collective sale on Dexter’s sidewalks. The occasion was called “Sidewalk Days.” Merchants offered great bargains that drew people from the surrounding areas into town.

In 1971, a new subcommittee for the Chamber of Commerce was formed to plan and organize Dexter’s summer sale, which had grown into more of a festival over the years. The event was officially titled “Discover Dexter Days.” Activities added that year were a movie, a pie-baking contest, square dancing, and a parade.

A few years later, in 1974, the festival was greatly enlarged for the sesquicentennial celebration of when Dexter was first settled. The name was shortened and respelled to “Dexter Daze.”

In the half-century since then, Dexter’s population has almost tripled. The original committee of a few has become a new generation of hard-working and civic-minded people dedicated to preserving their community’s core values as the world churns and an army of like-minded volunteers.

Local businesses still faithfully support the festival, but so do many individuals, demonstrating the importance many feel of maintaining good family fun featuring activities, games, crafts, food, and music for the entire family to enjoy together. The festival draws artisans from all over Michigan, offering a wide variety of unique pieces to browse and buy.

As much as Dexter Daze has to offer, the biggest delight, however, just might be the thrill of passing a friend or two for a quick “catching-up” on the sidewalk or park grass, phones down, face-to-face. You know, just like the old days.

The 2023 Dexter Daze Festival will be held Aug. 11 & 12 in downtown Dexter.

So, make plans to immerse yourself in an array of skilled artisans, unique crafters, and various businesses offering their best. You'll be entertained by an ensemble of musicians and performers at the Gazebo, savor delicious food, and maybe connect with friends under the social tent. After all, it’s times like these that we remember as the “good ole days.”

See you there!

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