Adrian man dresses up in costumes, attends area events to bring community joy

·5 min read
David Garcia poses in the gorilla costume he wore Friday, July 1, 2022, at First Fridays in Adrian.
David Garcia poses in the gorilla costume he wore Friday, July 1, 2022, at First Fridays in Adrian.

For those who frequent Adrian and Tecumseh-area festivals, there’s a good chance that they might have noticed a costumed individual, dressed in rather unique garb, ranging from superheroes to movie villains and from holiday mascots to dinosaurs.

The man behind such masks and full-body costumes is 22-year-old Adrian resident David Garcia, who said he delights in dressing up for the festivals as it brings joy to people and makes them smile.

“I try to make people laugh and smile as much and as often as possible,” Garcia said. “This is one of the ways in which I am able to do that.”

David Garcia poses for a photo Friday, July 1, 2022, in downtown Adrian.
David Garcia poses for a photo Friday, July 1, 2022, in downtown Adrian.

A 2019 Tecumseh High School graduate, Garcia said he has been dressing up for area events and gatherings for about two years now. It was something he started during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in Lenawee County. He was about 19 at the time, when he found that dressing up in various costumes brought joy to people’s lives in a time of such uncertainty.

“I did what I could to bring a little bit of happiness back into their lives,” he said. “I heard from several people that in hard times like during the pandemic, more people like me were needed more than ever. Some people told me, ‘People like you make the world a little more brighter,’ and I really took that to heart.”

As he continues to dress up and head out to events such as Adrian’s monthly First Fridays and the Artalicious Fine Arts Fair, Garcia remembers his father, Arthur Garcia II, who died from complications stemming from COVID-19. Garcia said his dad was one of the first people in Adrian to test positive for COVID-19 in March 2020. Arthur was sickened with COVID for at least two to three weeks in March 2020 before succumbing to the illness March 31, 2020. He was 52.

David Garcia appears as Batman and the Joker during First Fridays June 3 in downtown Adrian.
David Garcia appears as Batman and the Joker during First Fridays June 3 in downtown Adrian.

While his dad was ill with COVID, one of Garcia's initial thoughts to make him feel better and to cheer him up was to dress up in a silly costume. He said he can remember his father’s face and reaction vividly still to this day, when he walked into the room where his father was resting with a dinosaur suit affixed to his bottom half that made it look as if Garcia was riding on the back of a dinosaur with long and dangly legs.

“My dad was crying, He was in pain and was sad,” Garcia said. “I wasn’t able to see him very often because we kept him as far away from everyone as possible. The look on his face when he saw my inflatable half body dinosaur suit appeared to take away some of his pain.”

Garcia said he also thinks back to the last time he spoke to his father. It was the night before Arthur died.

“At the end of every day, I think back to the last thing my dad said to me. He seemed like he was out of it, almost in a dream. It could have been a side effect of his COVID illness. He said, ‘Son, I’m proud of you.’ When I feel sad, stressed out, or in some kind of a dark place, whether that's because of work, school or life in general, I think about the impact of those words from my dad. It keeps his memory alive to me, for sure.”

Garcia not only chooses to dress up for the joy of the community, but it’s a way to honor the life of his dad, who he calls “his everything.” His father was also the first person to introduce him to superheroes and other comic book legends. Garcia has been out in public dressed as Spider-Man, Captain America, Batman and Deadpool to name a few of the superhero renditions.

Some of his most requested characters to dress up as are Batman, Deadpool and the villainous Sith lord from the “Star Wars” franchise Darth Vader.

David Garcia of Adrian visits the Artalicious Fine Arts Fair while dressed in a suit of armor Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021, in downtown Adrian.
David Garcia of Adrian visits the Artalicious Fine Arts Fair while dressed in a suit of armor Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021, in downtown Adrian.

He’s also been the marshmallow man from “Ghostbusters,” the Grinch from “Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” a knight in armor and, most recently, a gorilla during Adrian’s July 1 First Fridays. The gorilla costume holds some special meaning, Garcia said, as it was a costume he wore in a music video created by local rapper and musical artist Anthony Christopher who goes by the stage name Tea9. Christopher is also a part of the coaching squad for the dance team at Siena Heights University. Garcia has been asked to dress up and perform in costume during some halftime performances at the university.

The music video was completed in 2021 for Tea9’s song “Dirty,” which can be viewed on YouTube.

Garcia’s popularity as a social icon during county events has allowed him to start his own small business called Rave Dave, where he dresses up in costume for birthday parties and other events. Rave Dave can be found on Facebook, and Garcia can be contacted at 517-662-0401 for those interested in hiring him.

“If it’s not Dave, it’s not a Rave,” his social media account says.

Garcia is currently studying for a communications degree. He attends Jackson College with a plan to transfer to Siena Heights University where he will obtain his Bachelor of Arts.

This article originally appeared on The Daily Telegram: Adrian man aims to bring smiles with his costumed characters