BELPRE - Hundreds turned out for the annual Belpre Homecoming Festival Parade on Saturday morning.
Despite skies threatening rain, the parade went on as scheduled, with families lining the streets to see the dozens of parade entries wind their way down Washington Boulevard. The rain held off for the parade, allowing residents to watch without getting wet this year.
Almost every parade participant threw candy along the route. Children went home with shopping bags almost as full as Halloween bags with parade candy. Tootsie Rolls were the most popular thrown candy, followed by bubble gum.
GRETCHEN RICHARDS Special to the Times
A variety of floats and walking units participated Saturday morning in the Belpre Homecoming Festival, including a man with his recliner and lamp. The parade drew hundreds despite darkening skies and the threat of rain came for a time on Saturday afternoon.
WAYNE TOWNER Special to the Times
The Miss Belpre Homecoming and Miss Teen Belpre Homecoming pageants were held Saturday on the final day of the Belpre Homecoming Festival at Civitan Park in Belpre. Katelynn Lynch, left, was chosen as Miss Belpre and Grace Gail Knapp, right, was named Miss Teen Belpre.
The parade began with the firemen's parade, as units from Belpre, Little Hocking, Devola and Dunham Township volunteer fire departments sent fire engines, ladder trucks, and ambulances down Washington Boulevard, wailing their sirens as they went.
Behind them, the Belpre Police Department and the Belpre Lions Club made an appearance, followed by the winners and participants of the various Belpre Homecoming pageants. Pageant winners from elsewhere, including Belpre in Bloom, the Ohio River Sternwheeler Festival, and Holly Days followed.
The Belpre High School Marching Band led off the schools section of the parade, followed by the Belpre Junior Cheerleaders, Belpre Youth Football, and the Belpre Varsity Cheerleaders. Warren High School band also played during the parade.
The Belpre Women's Club made an appearance in the parade, and the Belpre High School Alumni Association followed. The 1959, 1964 and 1977 Belpre High School class class members participated on floats as well.
St. Mark's United Methodist Church and Cub Scouts Pack 13 were followed by the Washington County Republicans, and candidates running for office. The Belpre Masonic Lodge 609 and Knights of Columbus Council 15569 waved happily from their floats, followed by the Washington-Morgan Counties Head Start bus, decorated with streamers and ribbons.
Other participants in the parade included Belpre soccer, Rockland United Methodist Church, Belpre Church of Christ, Marietta Memorial Scott's Super Adventures from Marietta, Gilbert's Lawn Service, Allman Lawn Care, Belpre Volleyball and the Belpre Public Library.
Despite a couple of rain showers in the afternoon, the Belpre Homecoming continued through the day on Saturday with activities, entertainment and other attractions at Civitan Park.
A total of 105 boats, with 210 fishermen, participated in the annual Buddy Bass Tournament on Saturday, beginning at 7 a.m. and weighing in at 4 p.m.
The first place winner of the tournament was Shayne and Ben Lockhart, followed by Terry Tompkins and Candace Coleman in second and Tim Schwall and Mike Hanson in third place.
In a companion event, a total of 68 children fished in Civitan Park Lake during the annual free Kids Fishing Derby on Saturday morning for ages 14 and under. Prizes and trophies were awarded in three age groups and free rods and reels were given to all participants.
In the 6 and under category, first place was Bryson Frazier, with Olesya Lewis in second and Loraliye Grimm in third. In the 7-10 category, first was Jacob Holman, second was Hunter Reed and Lakin Collins was third. In the 11-14 category, Hunter Lutz was first, Jacob Bradshaw was second and Owen Cousins was third.
The 2014 Miss Belpre and Miss Teen Belpre pageant was also held Saturday evening. Katelyn Lynch was named Miss Belpre, with first runner-up Mackenzie Hapney, who was also Miss Photogenic, and second runner-up Krista Porterfield, who also won Miss Congeniality for the combined pageants.
Miss Teen Belpre was Grace Gail Knapp, with first runner-up Elizabeth Phelps. The Miss Teen Photogenic was Alora Stull.