Parade starts celebration

BEVERLY – Camaraderie, friendship and community, mixed with food and fun times, made up the opening of the 68th annual Beverly-Waterford Homecoming Thursday night, with the festivities to continue through Saturday.

Since World War II, the Beverly-Waterford Homecoming has been an event for the community to enjoy, whether people live in the area or are returning to it.

For Marietta residents Scott and Sonja McCartney, both 29, and their son, Connor, 2, this marked their first Beverly homecoming.

“We thought we’d come out and see what it’s about,” said Scott. “(We also wanted to) give the little guy something to do tonight.”

He said the event seems like a nice one, and he’s excited to be able to partake of the festivities.

“For us growing up, we had similar events,” he said. “I think at least once a year, it’s nice to get everyone together. With this being a three-day event, I’m sure many people will get involved.”

Beverly Mayor Rex Kenyon said the draw of the event is the community interaction.

“One of the main things is that it brings (people) back,” he said. “It’s been going on for a number of years…(and) it gets the community together and everyone has a good time, from kids up through adults.”

Jewel McKown, 21, was babysitting Lily, 3, and Laina Huck, 4, of Beverly. She said it’s important to involve youngsters in community events.

“I think (homecoming is) pretty important,” she said. “It’s pretty big to get (the little ones) used to people they’re going to see around everyday.”

Kenyon said his favorite part involves seeing long-lost friends.

“You see people you haven’t seen for a while,” he said. “I’m always pleasantly surprised to see (old friends) there and enjoy their company.”

Organizer Steven Wainwright said the remainder of the event will include food, carnival rides and free entertainment in the pavilion.

“We’ll have ice cream, homemade chicken and noodles and carnival rides,” he said.