BELPRE - Everything is under way and running smoothly for tonight's kickoff of the 78th annual Belpre Homecoming in Civitan Park.
"Things are going very, very well," said Erica Bennekamper, executive director of the Belpre Area Chamber of Commerce. "Everything is going smoothly, and I look forward to a great weekend."
The annual fete will be filled with new additions and old favorites under the theme "An Ageless Tradition... Keep It Alive."
The theme plays off of previous homecoming themes of "Back to Basics" and "Unity in the Community."
Bennekamper said the chamber's homecoming board wanted a theme that reflected the timeless quality of homecoming itself.
"We wanted a theme that showed what a family-centered community Belpre is," she said.
6 to 11 p.m. - Carnival and Kiddie Town inflatables.
6:30 - Opening Ceremonies at the gazebo in Civitan Park.
7 - Little Miss and Mister Belpre Pageant at the gazebo.
8:30 - The Carter Twins on the main stage.
5 p.m. - Cruise-In at Civitan Park.
6 - Cornhole registration at the basketball court.
6 to 11 - Carnival and Kiddie Town inflatables.
6 - Junior Miss Belpre Pageant in the gazebo.
6:30 - Wheelie Wizzard at the Riverfront Stage.
7:30 - Cornhole: Singles Tournament at the basketball court.
7:30 - Wheelie Wizzard at the Riverfront Stage.
7:30 - Hard Drive on the main stage.
8:30 - Wheelie Wizzard at the Riverfront Stage.
9:15 - South of the River Band
The three-day festival will include family friendly rides, inflatables and continuing entertainment such as a cruise-in to display antique cars.
"We have been getting phone calls every day from people who want to set up a booth," Bennekamper said. "The park will be full of crafters, vendors and food.
"I don't think we've ever had this many businesses at homecoming before," she added.
Musical acts will be back this year after a short hiatus from last year's festival.
National country act The Carter Twins, made up of Joshua and Zachary Carter, who were raised in Akron, will perform tonight as the headliners of the event.
Last year's Great Lakes Timber Show was a popular attraction on the riverfront, and the chamber will place Wheelie Wizzard there this year.
There will be a biodiesel fuel demonstration where festival attendees will have the opportunity to learn how to make their own biodiesel.
"It should be very interesting," Bennekamper said.
The main festival is scheduled to begin today with opening ceremonies at Civitan Park and the Little Miss and Little Mister pageants after the formal ceremonies.
"This year, more than before, we are focused on making homecoming a family friendly and family oriented weekend," Bennekamper said.
For more information, visit the homecoming Web site at www.belprehomecoming.com.