For those who frequent festivals in the Adrian and Tecumseh area, chances are they’ve noticed a costumed individual, dressed in rather unique attire, ranging from superheroes to movie villains and dinosaur holiday mascots.
The man behind these masks and full costumes is 22-year-old Adrian resident David Garcia, who said he loves dressing up for festivals because it brings people joy and smiles. .
“I try to make people laugh and smile as much and as often as possible,” Garcia said. “That’s one of the ways I can do it.”
A 2019 graduate of Tecumseh High School, Garcia said he’s been dressing up for area events and gatherings for about two years now. It’s something he started at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in Lenawee County. He was around 19 at the time when he discovered that dressing up in various costumes brought joy to people’s lives in such uncertain times.
“I did what I could to bring some happiness back into their lives,” he said. “I have heard several people say that in difficult times like during the pandemic, more people like me are needed more than ever. Some people have said to me, “People like you make the world a little brighter,” and I really took that to heart.
As he continues to dress up and attend events such as Adrian’s Monthly First Fridays and the Artalicious fine arts fair, Garcia remembers his father, Arthur Garcia II, who died of complications related to COVID-19. Garcia said his father was one of Adrian’s first people to test positive for COVID-19 in March 2020. Arthur was sick with COVID for at least two to three weeks in March 2020 before succumbing to the illness on March 31, 2020. He was 52.
While her dad was sick with COVID, one of Garcia’s first thoughts to make him feel better and cheer him up was to dress up in a silly costume. He said he still vividly remembers his father’s face and reaction to this day, when he entered the room where his father was resting with a dinosaur costume affixed to his lower half which gave the impression that Garcia was riding on the back of a dinosaur with long, hanging legs.
“My dad was crying, he was in pain and he was sad,” Garcia said. “I couldn’t see him very often because we kept him as far away from everyone as possible. The look on his face when he saw my half-body inflatable dinosaur costume seemed 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 day before Arthur died.
“At the end of each day, I think about the last thing my father said to me. He looked like he was beside himself, 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, or in some kind of dark place, whether it’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 for me, that’s for sure.
Garcia not only chooses to dress for the joy of the community, but it’s a way of honoring his father’s life, which he calls “his everything.” His father was also the first person to introduce him to superheroes and other comic book legends. Garcia has gone 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 are Batman, Deadpool, and the evil Sith lord from the “Star Wars” franchise Darth Vader.
He’s also been the Marshmallow Man in “Ghostbusters,” the Grinch in “Dr. How the Grinch Stole Christmas from Seuss,” a knight in armor, and most recently a gorilla in First Fridays on July 1st. ‘Adrian’s gorilla costume has a special meaning, Garcia said, because it was a costume he wore in a music video created by local rapper and music artist Anthony Christopher, who goes by the name Tea9. Christopher is also on the coaching staff for Siena Heights University’s dance team. Garcia was asked to dress up and dress up at some college halftime performances.
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 at county events led 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 reached at 517-662-0401 for those interested in hiring him.
“If it ain’t Dave, it ain’t a Rave,” her social media account reads.
Garcia is currently studying for a degree in communications. He attends Jackson College with the intention of transferring to Siena Heights University where he will earn his Bachelor of Arts.