2 towns, 1 fun time

BEVERLY -Camaraderie, friendship and community, mixed with food and fun times, made up the opening of the 68th annual Beverly-Waterford Homecoming Thursday night, with the festivities to continue through Saturday.

Since World War II, the Beverly-Waterford Homecoming has been an event for the community to enjoy, whether they live in the area or are returning to it.

For Marietta residents Scott and Sonja McCartney, both 29, and their son, Connor, 2, this marked their first Beverly homecoming.

“We thought we’d come out and see what it’s about,” said Scott. “(We also wanted to) give the little guy something to do tonight.”

He said the event seems like a nice one, and he’s excited to be able to partake of the festivities.

“For us growing up, we had similar events,” he said. “I think at least once a year, it’s nice to get everyone together. With this being a three-day event, I’m sure many people will get involved.”

Beverly Mayor Rex Kenyon said the draw of the event is the community interaction.

“One of the main things is that it brings (people) back,” he said. “It’s been going on for a number of years…(and) it gets the community together and everyone has a good time, from kids up through adults.”

Jewel McKown, 21, was babysitting Lily, 3, and Laina Huck, 4, of Beverly. She said it’s important to involve youngsters in community events.

“I think (homecoming is) pretty important,” she said. “It’s pretty big to get (the little ones) used to people they’re going to see around everyday.”

Kenyon said his favorite part involves seeing long-lost-friends.

“You see people you haven’t seen for a while,” he said. “I’m always pleasantly surprised to see (old friends) there and enjoy their company.”

Organizer Steven Wainwright said the remainder of the event will include food, carnival rides and free entertainment in the pavilion.

“We’ll have ice cream, homemade chicken and noodles and carnival rides,” he said.

In addition to that, there will be tractor pulls today and Saturday, with the garden tractor pulls running today at 6 p.m. and antique tractors running at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Live entertainment is slated to take up the pavilion stage for several hours both nights as well.

Johanna Fliehman-Bradford, of Beverly, said she’s looking forward to the weekend with her children.

“I think watching the kids have a good time (is my favorite part),” she said. “It’s really fun for them.”

Likewise, Brett Stevens, 30, of Beverly, said he’s looking forward to spending time with his daughter.

“(Homecoming) is like a family gathering,” he said. “(I just want) to have fun and make sure my daughter has fun.”

For Beverly resident Chris Lemal, the weekend means seeing familiar faces.

“I think it’s really important for the community to get together,” Lemal said. “I mainly come to see familiar faces, grab a bite to eat and see people I maybe wouldn’t normally see.”

Rose Harra, 60, of Watertown, said homecoming is special for her and her husband.

“He recently retired…and likes to come to the event,” she said. “To me, (homecoming events are) extremely important for bringing the community together. It’s a source of community pride. I’ve always felt community should be a part of everyday life.”