Illuminate Dexter: A Community Event

The Illuminate Dexter display, with number shown, at the PNC Bank, 8123 Main St., in downtown. photo by Lonnie Huhman

By Lonnie Huhman,

Illuminate Dexter has brought many in the community together for a fun, holiday event.

Combining downtown businesses with an idea from the Dexter United Methodist Church, the event that began Dec. 1 and runs until Christmas. It has participating businesses in downtown lighting up a window that has been decorated with symbols of the holiday season.

“It’s about building a sense of community,” said Dr. Matt Hook, who is the senior pastor at the United Methodist Church, which is at 7643 Huron River Drive.

This is the first year for the event and it was an idea from another pastor at the church, Denise Kasischke, who is the pastor of family ministries. She said she was reading a magazine story about a similar event and thought it would be a great idea for a town like Dexter.

Getting people downtown, either walking along the sidewalk, or possibly from the car window, and looking into the different windows of businesses,maybe meeting people and having a conversation, she said it’s an effort to bring people together.

How it works: participants can get an entry form or Countdown to Christmas card, which are at different businesses around town,such as the PNC Bank branch, or at the church or its website, and then use that to find all of the lighted windows numbered from 1-24 and fill out the form.

You do this and you get a gift. The forms can be dropped off in a box in the atrium of the church, which also has a window umber.

“You know, we just want to be good neighbors and show support for the community,” Kasischke said.

In addition to the gifts the church is putting in for it, many of the participating businesses stepped up, even though they didn’t have to, and contributed to the event with such things as gift cards. The list of participating businesses includes almost the entire downtown.    

A good way to learn about the symbols and maybe get a hint in the process, is to go to the church website and check out Kasischke’s blog.

Hook said they hope to make this tradition because they’ve enjoyed it and believe others have as well.

One being Laura Telesco at 3bird.

“I do think this brings a sense of building community,” she said of the inaugural event. “I love it and hope we do it again.”

To learn more go to, or go to its Facebook or call the church at 734-426-8480.

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