Parkersburg Homecoming fireworks display heading back to Ohio River

PARKERSBURG — Parkersburg Homecoming’s fireworks show on Saturday night, Aug. 18 will originate from a barge on the Ohio River south of the Parkersburg-Belpre Bridge, Parkersburg Homecoming Committee President Mike Cottrell said Wednesday.

“The show is back where it used to be, on the Ohio River,” he said. “Fort Boreman is going to be the backup site for whatever reason that might occur. Fort Boreman will be closed to the public because it will be the backup site. But the fireworks will be exploding over the Ohio River.”

In previous years the fireworks from Fort Boreman have put the show in the vicinity of the downtown area.

The show is contracted out to Pyrotecnico Fireworks Inc. of New Castle, Pa., which is also the provider for the Ohio River Sternwheel Festival in Marietta. “It’s going to be a good show,” Cottrell said. “All the permits are signed and we will soon have the barge to do the show with. There will be a lot of 6-8 inch shells used in the show. In previous years, the shells have been 3-4 inch shells, so we are basically doubling the size of the shells for the event. It’s going to be good.”

Other updates for the homecoming events are:

* Woody Miller, director of sales for the Rubber Ducky Derby, said the event has been moved back to a dropping point from the Parkersburg-Belpre Bridge at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 19. The grand prize is a 2018 Hyundai Accent from Superior Toyota-Hyundai with nine cash prizes ranging from $100 to $1,500.

Miller said there is a maximum of 10,000 tickets. Tickets are $5 each or five for $20.

* Cottrell said several canons have been obtained in West Virginia for events. Cottrell said he hoped to have the canons fire a barrage to announce the start of Saturday’s fireworks and Sunday’s start of the Rubber Ducky Race.

* The homecoming parade will feature Jessica Lynch as the grand marshal. Committee secretary Amanda Daugherty said the parade will begin from Parkersburg High School, the site of the parade lineup, shortly before noon before moving to 19th and Market streets and beginning its way toward downtown.

* Charlotte Nestor said the homecoming festival’s queen and teen representatives will be chosen July 28 during the pageant at the West Virginia University-Parkersburg multi-purpose room and the Little Miss and Mr. Pageant is Aug. 5 at the Blennerhassett Hotel.

Nestor said the opportunity to enter the pageant for queen and teen representatives has closed. The Little Miss and Mr. Pageant can still be entered through the homecoming website,, until Friday night.

* A boat parade is scheduled Aug. 17 at 9:15 p.m. with decorated/lighted boats gathering near the Parkersburg-Belpre Bridge before slowly parading past Point Park. Cottrell said boats can launch from Belpre and the Corning launch sites.

* A photo contest is scheduled for three categories of pictures made during homecoming. Those categories are pageants, general activities and fireworks.

* Two events finalized earlier this week are a doughnut-eating contest sponsored by McHappy’s and a hot dog eating contest, which is sponsored by Der Dog Haus and Sheetz. The events will take place Aug. 19 but a time and location have not been determined.