Those who head to Dodge Park in Beverly this week can come to catch up with friends and neighbors but stay to catch some of the community's best talent and to help a good cause.
The 65th annual Beverly-Waterford Homecoming, sponsored by American Legion Post 389, will kick off today at 6:30 p.m., with a parade leaving Waterford Elementary, winding through Waterford and Beverly and ending at Dodge Park. Roy Skinner, a longtime business owner, will be honored as this year's parade marshal.
The annual homecoming tradition was started as a joint project of the Legion and the Lions Club in 1946, according to Legion commander Steven Wainwright. The Lions dropped out about 20 years ago but the American Legion Post kept the tradition going.
"The boys from World War II started this as a way for the community to come together," he said. "Our Legion 'family' really puts it on - the Sons, the Women's Auxiliary and the Riders."
Wainwright said last year's homecoming was the best attended ever and that several hundred people usually stroll the grounds over the three-day event.
Entertainment, food and rides are part of the attraction but organizers say they hope a new aspect this year will draw even more folks to the event.
If You Go
What: American Legion Post 389's annual Beverly-Waterford Homecoming.
When: Today through Saturday.
Where: Dodge Park in Beverly.
Details: Parade will kick off today at 6:30 p.m. beginning at Waterford Elementary. Entertainment will follow at Dodge Park. Homecoming activities include rides, entertainment, food and raffles. Tables can also be rented for $5 for individuals to sell flea market or yard sale items or farm goods.
Cost: Admission to the event and parking is free. Ride tickets can be purchased on the grounds.
For more information or to rent a table: Steven Wainwright, 984-2498.
What: B&W Homecoming's Got Talent
When: First round Friday at 8 p.m.; final round Friday at 9 p.m.; "Most Talented Overall Finale" will be at 9:30 p.m.
Categories: Under 18 and 18 and older
Details: No cost to enter; open to everyone in the community with "hidden talent"; cash prizes will be awarded.
"We wanted to get more people involved," Wainwright said of the decision to rent tables to vendors.
For $5 anyone can rent a table to sell yard sale or flea market-type items or produce or other farmers market goods. Any money raised through the event will go back into the Legion.
"The money goes back in to help with our programs," Wainwright said. "It helps to fund our VA programs, scholarships ... our sole purpose is to help veterans and their families."
Another favorite event during the weekend is the "B&W Homecoming's Got Talent" show.
It isn't really a formal affair, according to Katie Wainwright, an organizer of the event.
"People can sign up until 7 p.m. (on Friday). We will have a DJ this year with karaoke but it isn't limited to singing," she said.
Two years ago, a drum line from Fort Frye won the competition. Other acts have included dancing, pet tricks, musicians and actors.
The competition will be split into age groups of 17 and younger and 18 and older. The entire competition will be held on Friday with the "most talented finale" rounding out the evening.