The Genoa Homecoming celebration is coming back home.
The popular event, scheduled this year for May 29-30 in downtown Genoa, was canceled in 2008 after the Genoa Volunteer Fire Department decided it could no longer sponsor the event due to manpower and financial constraints.
The Genoa Merchants Association and the Genoa Area Chamber of Commerce have agreed to co-sponsor the 2009 event to keep the tradition alive.
The springtime festival has a long tradition. Genoa American Legion Post 324 held the first Homecoming in 1946 to honor area residents returning from service in World War II. The Clay-Genoa Volunteer Fire Department became a co-sponsor of the event two years later.
The fire department took over the organization of the Homecoming in the mid-1970s, using the event as a fund-raiser for the department, and continued to sponsor the celebration until last year.
There will be some changes this year from past events. The most noticeable will be no amusement rides and the relocation of the event along Main Street downtown instead of at Veterans’ Park.
In addition, there will be no beer tent. The Main Street location, however, provides those with a thirst for an ice cold beer or another libation easy access to downtown taverns. Patrons can have a drink inside, then return to Homecoming.
Many of the traditional components of the homecoming celebration will return this year when the event opens with food vendors at 4 p.m. on Friday, May 29. At 5 p.m., a silent auction of sports memorabilia will be held at the fire station at 5 p.m., where bingo and Big 6 will be played at 7:30 p.m.
The annual parade will step off at 6:30 p.m. from Main and 13th streets.
Marchers will travel along Main Street through downtown and end at the park. Athletes from Genoa Area High School, who were division and league champions in several sports, will serve as parade grand marshals.
Fittingly, the parade theme will be school spirit, and who better to demonstrate that than The Ohio State University Spring Athletic Band? The band is a non-audition group that is open to any Ohio State student with prior high school instrumental experience and is completely separate from the OSU Marching Band that performs at Buckeye football games. However, some of the dedicated students who volunteer for the athletic band in the spring are also members of the official marching band and the fall athletic band, which plays at the OSU Homecoming Parade.
The spring athletic band - currently the only springtime marching band of its kind among U.S. colleges - performs at the OSU spring football game and at an annual concert at Mirror Lake. It also is regularly invited to performances at places around the country, including the Indianapolis 500, the Kentucky Derby and opening day at Cedar Point.
The Ottawa County Alumni Club of Ohio State is co-sponsoring with the merchants association the spring band’s appearance at the homecoming celebration.
After the parade, at approximately 7:30 p.m., the spring band will perform a concert outside Town Hall with Genoa Area High School and other local high school marching bands that participate in the parade.
Homecoming activities begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 30 with a 5K run starting at Veterans Park (registration begins at 8 a.m.).
Other highlights include:
• 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Street fair.
• 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.- Children’s activities at 6th Street.
• 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. - Farmers’ market in town hall parking lot.
• 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. – Food vendors.
• 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. - Art in the Park at the Town Hall Mall.
• 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Pie-baking contest, with judging at the fire station from noon to 1:30 p.m. and pie-serving from 2 to 5 p.m.
• 12:30 to 11p.m. – Bingo and Big 6 played at the fire station.
• 4 to 7 p.m. – Steak dinner at 6th Street.
• 5 to 8 p.m. – Car show at Main Street between 8th and 5th streets.
• 7 to 11 p.m. – Square dancing at the fire hall.
There is no admission cost for any activities except the 5K run.
Local firefighters and representatives from other community groups will compete in a steak cook-off from 2 to 6 p.m. on 6th Street to determine who cooks the best cooked steak in town. Dinners featuring a 20-ounce ribeye cooked by the chef of your choice, potato and salad will be available for $18 if tickets are purchased before the day of the event and $20 on Saturday.
Call Neil Ammons, parade chairman, at 419-855-3176 for more information about the parade/homecoming, or Dave Grosjean at 419-836-7869 for general homecoming information.
Local members of The Ohio State University Spring Athletic Band include: Front row from left: Aaron Gonya, Andy Hoover, Mary Sundermeier, Mandy Lopez, Megan Moser, Erin Brown, Monique Shaffer, Jennifer Rindler, Brigette Royer, Audrey Gillette, Director Jon Waters. Middle row: Stephanie Gonya, Shawn Hanf, Andrew Martin, Michelle Lewis, Sadie Feick, Corey Balough, Amanda Mormon, Phil Kirkendall, Alex Jones, Tyler Provo, Zach Profit. Back row: Nathan Scherger, Bret Samsen, Matt Schaffer, Devin Martin, Ruben Castillo, Pete Droll, Nate Uther, Erik Hassan, Tony Killian, Isaac Chen, Ethan Weldy, Clay Finken and David Decker.