2014 Belpre Homecoming

BELPRE – Despite a brief shower late Friday afternoon, the rain stayed away from the 82nd annual Belpre Homecoming Festival for a second evening, allowing area residents to enjoy entertainment, activities, food and carnival rides at Civitan Park in Belpre.

A popular attraction each Friday night of the Belpre Homecoming is the annual Classic Car Cruise-In sponsored and organized by Leavitt Funeral Home and the Mid-Ohio Valley Widetrackers Car Club.

Little Hocking resident Dick Rhodes brought his 2005 Chevrolet Corvette for Friday’s show. He has been coming to the Belpre event for several years, bringing one car or another to display with other car enthusiasts at the park.

Rhodes said he attends quite a few car shows and cruise-ins each year and enjoys coming to Belpre on a regular basis, due to its proximity to his home and its location and Civitan Park.

“It’s just a nice evening,” he said, adding its location near the gazebo and entertainment stage brings a lot of people through to view the cars and trucks on display.

Leavitt representative Dana Fouss said the cruise-in has been a tradition at Homecoming for several years, with the business sponsoring it for the last four years. The event brings in a wide range of makes, models and years. About 75 vehicles cruised in for this year’s event, with a few kept away by weather concerns, he said.

“It’s been real successful,” he said of the annual event.

Fouss said the Homecoming overall plays an important role in the Belpre community, helping to bring people together and to bring people home to Belpre.

“This is our 82nd year for doing it and I think it’s a tradition. It brings a lot of people… back in town,” he said. “It just brings people back that one time of the year.”

The tradition of coming back and seeing friends and family during the Belpre Homecoming is an important aspect of the event. Belpre resident Lynn Nelson is a 1961 graduate of Belpre High School and a past president of the Belpre High School Alumni Association.

Nelson said the BHSAA participates in Homecoming each year with a display of yearbooks and other activities, letting people look back at those they went to school with and to reconnect with old friends. He came back to Belpre in 2007 after about 40 years living elsewhere.

“A lot of the classes have their reunions during Homecoming and a lot of people come back and come down here” to Civitan Park during the festival, he said.

“The kids have the rides that they go to, but their parents come here and look at the yearbooks,” he said, adding there are also a number of grandparents who look through the books.

While the Belpre Homecoming draws people back year after year, it also has things to offer for first-time visitors. Hannah Covart of Coolville and her 3-year-old daughter, Malaya, were making their first visit to Homecoming, riding the carousel and other carnival rides at the park.

“This is our first night, but we might come (today). This is our first year and we like it,” she said.

One of Friday’s activities was the Junior Miss Belpre Pageant, which featured eight contestants this year. The winner of Junior Miss Belpre Homecoming 2014 was Ryleigh Hannah. The first runner-up was Kayla Harnage, second runner-up was Emilee Bever, who also won Miss Congeniality, and third runner-up was Clara Pettit, who also won Miss Photogenic.

The 2014 Belpre Homecoming Festival schedule of activities for today includes:

* 7 a.m.: Buddy Bass Fishing Tournament (Belpre Boat Ramp)

* 9 a.m.: Kids Fishing Derby (Civitan Park Pond)

* 9:40 a.m.: Belpre Mile Run and Walk (Howes Grove Park)

* 10 a.m.: 82nd Belpre Homecoming Parade

* Noon: Carnival Rides/Games until 4 p.m.

* 2-4 p.m.: Brian Worst (Suddenlink Main Stage)

* 6 p.m.: Carnival Rides/Games

* 7 p.m.: Miss Teen and Miss Belpre Pageants

* 8 p.m.: Jody Haught (Suddenlink Main Stage)

* 9:30 p.m.: Zach Paxson (Suddenlink Main Stage); Duck Pluck Winners drawn at Belpre Municipal Pool