Belpre Homecoming opens today

From staff reports

BELPRE To mark the 85th year of the Belpre Homecoming Festival, organizers are bringing back a couple of popular acts and activities from the past.

The 85th annual Belpre Homecoming Festival kicks off today at Civitan Park in Belpre and runs through Saturday.

This year’s Homecoming will feature the return of a popular singer and will also feature the first time Belpre will present fireworks at Homecoming in several years.

Chuck Lipps, the entertainment coordinator for this year’s event, said one of the things being brought back to mark this year’s anniversary will be opening night headliner Bucky Covington, who will perform today.

While Covington has become a frequent performer at area festivals and fairs, this will mark only his second appearance at the Belpre Homecoming and marks 10 years since his first appearance in Belpre, Lipps said.

At that time, Covington was just becoming known following his appearance on “American Idol” and Lipps believes it was one of the biggest crowds he can recall for any performer at Belpre’s Homecoming.

Taking the stage Friday for Tribute Night is Eliminator KC, a ZZ Top tribute band.

For more than a decade, the three performers based out of Kansas City have taken their show coast-to-coast, performing at major venues and events across the country. Eliminator KC will perform more than 20 charted hits that have helped shape the face of American music and culture.

The final performance of Homecoming will feature regional favorites Rick K and the Allnighers as part of “Community Night” on Saturday, followed by the return of the Homecoming Fireworks show at 10 p.m. to close out this year’s festival.

The Diamond sponsor for this year’s fireworks is Belpre Savings Bank.

Co-Coordinator Teresa Turner said Belpre Homecoming will also feature other traditional celebrations, attractions, food/crafter and commercial vendors and more. Belpre Chamber of Commerce, The Belpre Homecoming Committee and Belpre Lions Club will sponsor the 85th Homecoming parade at 10 a.m. Saturday.

The Belpre Homecoming Pageant program seeks to find children and youth to represent Belpre at civic functions and local events. Contests include Little Mister and Little Miss ages 5-8 today, Junior Miss ages 9-12 on Friday, Miss Teen Belpre ages 13-16 on Friday and Miss Belpre ages 17-20 on Saturday.

Amusement rides are open throughout the entire event.

This year’s festival will also feature the BACC’s sixth “Duck Pluck” Fundraiser, which offers cash prizes to lucky winners whose ducks are “plucked” from all entries on Saturday at the main stage.

A $5 ticket gives purchasers a chance to win cash prizes totaling $1,000. Five tickets can be purchased for $20.

Tickets will be available on the Homecoming grounds, at the BACC office, from participating civic and school groups and any Homecoming committee member.

Other events planned during the weekend include:

– A Cruise-in will roll into Civitan Park on Friday starting at 5 p.m., organized by Pioneer Antique Auto Club, with Leavitt Funeral Services as sponsor.

– The Belpre Mile Road Race, sponsored by the Memorial Health System, will be featured Saturday morning.

For information and registration information, call the Chamber office at 740-423-8934 or visit the website belprechamber.com.

– A recent activity which has grown in popularity will be the Puppy Contest presented by Boxers Bed and Biscuits on Saturday. Registration will start at noon at the gazebo in Civitan Park with a $10 registration fee.

More information about these and other events at Belpre Homecoming can be found at belprechamber.com or Belpre Homecoming on Facebook.

– The Belpre Homecoming Buddy Bass tournament and Kid’s Fishing Derby is an annual event offered in conjunction with Belpre Homecoming, presented by Frontier Bassmasters and sponsored by Polymer Services of Ohio LLC.

This year’s bass tournament is Saturday. The entry fee is $60 per boat and a partner is mandatory.

The event is from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Belpre Boat Ramp. Registration is from 4:30 to 6 a.m. at the driver’s meeting at Belpre McDonald’s.

Boat check and launch begins at 6 a.m.

The Kids Fishing Derby for children ages 14 and under will be held at Civitan Park Lake from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday.

Admission is free. Prizes and trophies are awarded in three age groups.

The schedule of activities includes

TODAY

* 6 p.m.-close: Carnival Rides/Games

* 6 p.m. Opening Ceremonies with Lighting of the Torch

* 7 p.m.: Little Miss/Mister Pageant

* 8:30 p.m.: Bucky Covington

FRIDAY

* 5 p.m.: Cruise-In Car Show sponsored by Leavitt Funeral Services and Pioneer Antique Auto Club

* 6 p.m.-close: Carnival Rides/Games

* 6 p.m.: Junior Miss Belpre Pageant

* 8:30 p.m.: Eliminator KC ( ZZ Top Tribute)

SATURDAY

* 7 a.m.: Buddy Bass fishing tournament (Belpre Boat Ramp)

* 9 a.m.: Kids Fishing Derby (Civitan Park Pond)

* 9:40 a.m.: Belpre Mile Run and Walk (Howes Grove Park)

* 10 a.m.: 85th Belpre Homecoming Parade (Washington Blvd)

* Noon-close: Carnival Rides/Games open

* Noon: Registration begins for Boxer’s Bed and Biscuits annual “Puppy Pageant” at Civitan Park gazebo

* 1 p.m.: Puppy Pageant

* 7 p.m.: Miss Teen and Miss Belpre Pageants

* 8:30 p.m.: Rick K and the Allnighters

* 9 p.m.: Duck Pluck winners drawn at Civitan Park Main Stage

* 10 p.m.: Fireworks.