PARKERSBURG - Officials say this year's Parkersburg Homecoming was a success despite a rainy finish to the weekend.
Randall Roberts, a member and past president of the Parkersburg Homecoming Board, said attendance for the first few days of the event exceeded expectations.
"Friday and Saturday were outstanding; there is no question," he said. "We had huge crowds. Events were well-attended. It was a very good turnout."
Photo by Brett Dunlap
Aydan Vann, 7, of Parkersburg participates in the third annual Pressley Ridge Ice Cream Challenge on Saturday during the Parkersburg Homecoming Festival. After completing events, he enjoyed a dish of ice cream.
And then there was Sunday.
"Well, I don't have to tell you what happened Sunday," Roberts said, referring to the heavy rains that fell throughout the day. "I'm sure that hurt us attendance-wise."
Even so, by Sunday evening the skies had mostly cleared, vendors reopened and people gathered to watch America perform.
"We did have a huge crowd for America that evening," Roberts said. "Overall it went very well."
Mayor Bob Newell said the only issue coming out of homecoming that was not caused by the rain was parking. Organizers this year moved many of the events and vendors closer to the Wood County Justice Center.
Newell said especially Friday, when downtown businesses and offices were still open and a jury trial was occurring at the courthouse, parking became difficult.
"It was a bit hard to shuffle everyone at times," Newell said. "I think next year we are going to have to look at moving more things down to the river, down to Point Park."
Roberts said a highlight of the weekend was not just positive for homecoming but for Parkersburg as a whole. NBC requested information, graphics and footage of homecoming and showcased the event on its Sunday morning Today show.
"It aired around 8:30 Sunday morning and started out with the Parkersburg Homecoming logo filling the whole screen," he said. "I think that is just great for us that they would choose to highlight us in that way."
Roberts said he also was particularly impressed with this year's fireworks display.
"Maybe it was just me, but they looked better than they have in years past," he said.
Parkersburg police Chief Joe Martin said there were no notable incidents at homecoming this year. At the height of activities Saturday, Martin said about 80 officers, Wood County Sheriff's Department deputies, West Virginia Highway Patrol troopers and citizen volunteers were active in and around homecoming.
"It was a very busy weekend but overall pretty quiet, which I will take anytime," Martin said.
The one incident which did require police was a shooting away from the homecoming festivities that happened right around the start of fireworks.
"We had to shift some duties around to respond to that," Martin said.
Newell said overall he was thrilled with this year's homecoming.
"All I've heard are good comments," he said. "It went very well."