Explaining Parkersburg Homecoming

I am responding to John D. McIntyre’s recent letter “Return Homecoming to Glory,” and will give the reasons why we would like to but cannot without major sponsorships and funding.

I totally understand the PTSD issue but the laser show was an idea brought to Homecoming as an alternative at a fraction of the cost of fireworks. The pathetic reference to the laser show was a salute to our veterans who never get enough credit. Ironically, the letter stated “no fireworks and that’s what a lot of people go to see.” Can’t win either way.

Twenty years ago, Homecoming had an entertainment budget of $40,000-$50,000 supported by many corporations and local businesses. Unfortunately, those sponsorship dollars have decreased along with city and county funding while entertainment costs have increased. A free event is not free. Vendor fees help pay a portion of the costs. If everyone attending Homecoming would buy one $5 Rubber Ducky Derby ticket, we could raise a lot of money. Not a bad deal for 3 days of free entertainment.

In addition to the superstar acts mentioned that have performed at Homecoming, let me add The Charlie Daniels Band, Lee Greenwood, Brad Paisley, Merle Haggard, Ricky Skaggs, Toby Keith, Eddie Money, 38 Special, Grand Funk Railroad, Kansas and many others. Go to the Homecoming web site for complete list of acts. It’s something to proud of!

Getting “people off of the street to play” that was referred to happen to be excellent local bands that I have known for many years and where I got my start in the music business. I will always support local music and those bands filled time slots for us this year at a minimal cost.

Vendors, sternwheelers and ride companies have always been known to cancel last minute per their contract details. Their booking commitments are based mostly on routed events on multiple days, which is important. Thankfully we were able to get inflatables at last minute this year.

Find us a 15K sponsor and we’ll be glad to get boat racing and water events back on the river so “we can start spending money in our town instead of another town” as was stated.

The 2019 committee has had its head together and our hands out of our pockets looking for sponsorships all year. We jumped through hoops, decreased funding and survived a change of leadership in May. Many thanks to Woody Miller for stepping up in a time of need. He did a great job moving us forward.

I hope this answers Mr. McIntyre’s issues and concerns and to share with the general public. For the first time in the past several years, Homecoming dealt with the funding we had. We did not overspend money we didn’t have and fulfilled our obligation to put on an event. That was accomplished and hopefully this is a wake up call that you get what you pay for and have a budget for. For those who criticize, we welcome you to come on board and help us solve our problems.

Homecoming can and will survive with the help of our government, business and civic organizations all working together to make it what it used to be. But funding is the key.

Chuck Lipps

Parkersburg Homecoming Festival

Board of Directors