Soggy start for Belleville Homecoming

BELLEVILLE – After a rainy and wet Saturday, the 2013 Belleville Homecoming Festival is hoping for better weather today as the festival concludes, but organizers are not letting weather get them down.

“It might be a little wet, but spirits are high,” festival president Debra Buckley said Saturday afternoon.

The festival began Friday evening at the Belleville Community Center on West Virginia 68 South at Belleville in southern Wood County. It will continue today from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. before finishing for another year.

Admission today is $5 for adults, $1 for children ages 3-12 and free for children under 3 years of age.

Buckley said only a couple of events had to be canceled Saturday due to the rain. The horse show and tug tractor pulls were canceled due to safety concerns about conditions in the arena and track, but all of the other activities went on as scheduled, or only slightly delayed, on Saturday afternoon and evening.

Later in the afternoon, the sky cleared and the festival was able to hold its Saturday concert featuring “American Idol” alum Bucky Covington, followed by the festival’s annual fireworks display.

For festival organizers, the goal of the Belleville Homecoming has long been to provide a place and opportunity for friends and family to gather and to enjoy entertainment, games and historical exhibits. Sisters Joyce Ault and Peggy Wiggins are among those who are at the heart of that goal.

Ault, of Lubeck, and Wiggins, of Parkersburg, are Belleville natives and attended school at the Belleville Community Center when it was named Humphrey School.

“We were here at the original one (Belleville Homecoming) and made it back every year,” Wiggins said of the annual festival.

Both enjoy the festival for the opportunity to see old neighbors and friends and they spent time Saturday perusing old scrapbooks and reviewing photography and history displays which are a key part of the Belleville festival.

In a new addition to this year’s festival, Buckley said “Super Hero Day” will be today, with people dressed as Batman, Batgirl and Captain America coming to the festival at 1 p.m. Visitors – especially children – are encouraged to dress as their favorite superheroes when they come to the festival, she said.

Another new activity for children at this year’s event has been the “pony hop” for children, Buckley said. Festival organizers have a number of inflatable hobby horses which kids can hop on in races in the games area.

Buckley said today’s schedule of activities is expected to go forward as planned, including:

* 10 a.m.: Grounds open; Tractor show/rodeo registration; Truck pull registration and truck pull starts

* 1 p.m.: Tractor show/rodeo; Tootsie roll spitting contest; Corn shelling contest; Batman, Batgirl and Captain America

* 2 p.m.: Marble tournament; Horseshoe Pitching Contest; Marshmallow golfing

* 2-3 p.m.: Belleville Idol registration

* 2:30 p.m.: Davisson Brothers Band (Stage); Oreo Cookie eating contest at basketball court

* 3 p.m.: Pony Hop Races; Going Nuts Challenge

* 3:30 p.m.: Kiddie Pedal Power (75 pounds and under) (Basketball court)

* 4 p.m.: Belleville Idol

* 6 p.m.: Grounds close