PARKERSBURG - The Charlie Daniels Band brought the 2012 Parkersburg Homecoming Festival to a triumphant close Sunday night.
The crowd that came out to see Daniels was one of the biggest ever for the last night concert of the homecoming, said festival president Randall Roberts.
"We knew it was going to be huge," he said. "We also knew (Daniels) was going to bring them in.
"We had a lot of people calling about it beforehand. It really is a good crowd."
Daniels took the stage Sunday night to thunderous applause and cheers as he performed many fan favorites. For many attending the concert, Daniels represents what is good and true about America.
"I like what Charlie stands for, good old American values - be honest, be truthful, be kind, be loyal and stand up for what you believe in," said Anna Rogers-Yoder of Millersburg, Ohio. "I have known the man for 35 years. I have known him to be honest."
Sunday was special for her as well being a fan of Daniels for so many years.
"For me, this is a big deal for me tonight because this is my 100th show to see Charlie and he is going to give me a belt buckle for my 100th show," Rogers-Yoder said.
She was impressed with the turnout and hoped more people would be able to make it. As far as songs, Rogers-Yoder was not picky.
"I like just about everything he does, but I really like 'Saddle Tramp,'" she said.
This is the second time Daniels has played the Parkersburg Homecoming, with the first time being back in 1989.
Daniels' songs speak about what it means to be American, said Lee Lorenz, of Parkersburg. Lorenz said he has been listening to Daniels' music most his life.
"This is great," he said. "His songs are down-home country and American."
Traditionally, Parkersburg Homecoming is one of the last big events of the summer for the area. Roberts was pleased with the turnout for the entire weekend.
"Saturday was outstanding," he said. "Out on the midway, you could hardly walk through it.
"It had to be as big of a crowd as we have had."
Saturday's fireworks were very popular as Roberts said many people commented on how great they were.
"I don't know how many people have called me to tell me how great they were," he said.
The festival was able to expand the number of vendors, added more attractions, included a petting zoo as well as more rides for smaller kids and more, said Cyndie Wade, the incoming Homecoming Festival President.
"We have a lot more vendors than we did last year," she said. "It seems it is a lot busier and there is a lot more down here."
Music programs at Point Park were very popular this year and Wade will be looking to expand attractions on the riverfront next year.
By 3 p.m. Sunday, Roberts said the Ducky Derby tickets had far exceeded last year. At the end of the evening, festival officials reported having sold 2,764 tickets for the Ducky Derby Drawing.
Todd Williams, of Vienna, and his family came out to the festival Sunday. He, his wife Tanya and their sons Konner and Kyle rode some rides and were able to eat some food.
"We came to just get the family out and enjoy ourselves," he said. "We have been looking around, eating some food and so on.
"It is a cheap easy way to enjoy yourself on a Sunday."
The Williams have not been to the festival in years, but heard about some of the things being offered.
"We came down to check it out," he said. "The Point was open this year so we wanted to come down and look around.
"We are really enjoying ourselves."
Sara and Matt Cronin, of Waverly, brought their 14-month-old daughter, Saraya, down for her first Homecoming Festival.
"It is great to be out here, having a good time, enjoying the scenery, eating, doing the activities and listening to the music," Matt Cronin said. "It is all just a good time."