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Belpre Homecoming weathers rain

Belpre resident Finley Bailey, 3, dances during the Belpre Homecoming parade as his dad, Jeremy, takes a video Saturday along Washington Boulevard. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

BELPRE — The Belpre Homecoming activities were rained on Saturday, but for the most part, the 90th edition of the festival wasn’t rained out.

“It’s been a positive year,” said Terri Klingenberg, Homecoming coordinator for the nonprofit group organizing the festival.

She said the Homecoming committee received positive feedback about the entertainment, which opened Thursday night at Civitan Park with rising contemporary Christian artist Jordan St. Cyr, whose single “Weary Traveler” hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Christian AC National Airplay chart earlier this year. Tim McGraw tribute act Vegas McGraw took the stage a few minutes early Friday to try to beat the rain and despite some sprinkles during the performance, the “crowd loved him,” Klingenberg said.

Cambridge, Ohio, native Adam Calvert, whose latest country singles are “Party On” and “Silver Silverado,” was set to wrap things up Saturday followed by fireworks.

“The music’s always fantastic — even if it is country and western,” laughed Belpre resident Bill Roberts on Saturday morning. “I’d rather have rock ‘n’ roll myself.”

Belpre resident Crystal Hutchinson holds Chewie as her son, Kade, brushes him prior to the Puppy Pageant Saturday at the Civitan Park gazebo during Belpre Homecoming. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

Thunder and lightning required some of the children’s activities to be temporarily suspended Saturday for safety reasons, but Klingenberg was optimistic there would be clear conditions in the afternoon.

“I’m hoping once this stops and we can get a long stretch of nice weather, we can really see” how people respond to some of the new activities like water inflatables, paddle boats and Laser Tag, she said.

Other activities went on despite the rain, including the annual Puppy Pageant organized by Boxers Bed and Biscuits. About 20 canines were signed up for the event, many in costume, as the dogs, their owners and supporters crowded into the park’s gazebo.

“We’re winging it,” said Boxers Manager Jessica Davis, adding they usually spread out around the gazebo. “We’re having fun with it.”

Although the number of participants was down from previous years, likely due to the weather, “it’s actually more than we thought it was going to be,” she said.

Parkersburg resident Nina Thornton holds her decked-out dog Betsy in the gazebo at Civitan Park Saturday prior to the Puppy Pageant at Belpre Homecoming. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

The weather affected turnout, but Klingenberg said Homecoming had the most vendors she’d ever seen there.

“We’re having a great time, meeting lots of people,” said Lori Matheny with Pawstries and Pretties of Elizabeth. With homemade pet treats and accessories, she was happy to see puppy pageant participants arriving.

George Anderson brought his Good Times booth selling party dip, smoked salts and slushie mixes from Nitro and said he had good traffic when the rain let up.

“It’s been a great weekend,” he said.

Hundreds of people gathered along Washington Boulevard under cloudy skies Saturday morning for the Homecoming parade. Among them was 3-year-old Belpre resident Finley Bailey, who danced enthusiastically to the beat as the Belpre High School band marched by.

The Belpre High School Band marches up Washington Boulevard under a cloudy sky during Saturday’s Belpre Homecoming parade. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

“We like to come down and see the community, everybody uniting as one,” said Jordan Bailey, Finley’s dad. “It’s kind of cool. It’s a sense of normalcy in this pandemic we’re against.”

Evan Bevins can be reached at ebevins@newsandsentinel.com.

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Boxers bed and biscuits puppy pageant winners

* First place Queen of the bigs, Brynn and Mariah Carpenter, owner

* Second place Queen of the bigs. Baker May and Aimee, owner

* Tie for second place Queen of the bigs, Samantha and Kim, owner

* Winner of the bigs male, Dexter and Elizabeth Bradley, owner

* First place female littles, Daisy and Nina Thornton, owner

* Second place littles female, Betsy and Nina Thornton, owner

* First place littles male, Max and Tracy Mccolligan, owner

* Second place littles male, Charlie and Lydia White, owner

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