The turnout at the Dearborn Homecoming 2014 appeared to be up from previous attendance, according to preliminary review of the event.
According to EmmaJean Woodyard, executive director of the Dearborn Community Fund (which partners with the city of Dearborn in presenting Homecoming), the survey is still in the process of gathering data how well the participants in the annual festival did that weekend. While “we’re meeting with everyone to try to get the full report before the end of the year,” Woodyard said that attendance seemed to have increased, and the feedback on this year’s festival has been positive “by and large.”
“We must have drawn about 140,000 people this year, which was up from 130,000 last year,” she said. “The carnival did well, and none of the non-profits complained.”
One of those Dearborn Homecoming fund-raising non-profit vendors, the firefighters’ Burn Drive run by Capt. Steve Worden, was reported by City Councilman Thomas P. Tafelski, “again they hit a home run with the corn.” Tafelski told the council that despite this festival being different from previous ones in regard to its fenced-in area, “people did a great job.
“Employees kept it clean, and that’s what we want people to remember, the good times when they come into our neighborhoods and parks,” Tafelski said.
Woodyard also mentioned there had been concern that the fencing was a change over past Homecoming festivals, but she said that that everyone “seemed fine” with the fencing mandated by the state Liquor Control Commission to enclose certain areas where alcohol was served.
Each weekend night, the Homecoming main stage was hit by a storm just before the headline act was to begin. Despite the inconvenient timing, Woodyard said that the crowd stayed through the hour’s rain delay before the Kellie Pickler concert. The Infatuations still performed next night, with the fireworks concluding both evening concerts also starting late because of the rain.
“We felt good when the crowd stayed,” she said. “The feedback we got (on Pickler) was that people really liked that show, it was a good choice for the event.
“The rain was a problem, but oh well. Absolutely the attendance was helped by the weather, which was decent aside from the rain at night, not too hot or cold. I marvel at the tech crews being able to work after the rain, and their doing a very good job,” Woodyard said.
How some of the other activities at Homecoming went last month:
- At the close of the festival’s Saturday morning, Dearborn Rotary Club Past President Bob Gliechauf reported that the club’s 10th annual fishing derby had reeled in a lot of fish, “we had small fish, we had big fish. It was a great, great time, and you guys made it great, so thank you for coming out.”
Prizes were handed out to Jack Wallace for the longest and most fish for participants under age 5 (one 8 1/2-inch fish); and to Arianna Lamp for the longest fish (12 inches) and to Olivia Engquist for the most fish (four) in the age 5-8 category. For age 9-12, Robbie Mechan was recognized for catching the most fish (26), and Adam Krol caught the longest (9 inches).
- In the seventh annual Turbo Turtle Derby run by the Dearborn Outer Drive Kiwanis Club on a Sunday afternoon, an 88-year-old lady won the $1,000 first prize. Kiwanian Roger Frank said that lady actually lives on the route on which the club makes deliveries for Meals on Wheels.
- Joseph and Mary Bugeia were recognized for have the Best Mustang in the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce’s “Cruisin’ Dearborn” Car Show with their 1965 Mustang Coupe. Kenneth Toth received the Best in Show award for his 1955 Ford Crown Victoria.
“Overall, it’s our our most successful of the five years we’ve held it, the highest attended with a lot of walk-ins registering on top of the 150 cars pre-registered,” said Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce Events Director Ronald J. Hinrichs. “There were somewhere between 25-30 walk-ins, the largest turnout we’ve had for the car show.”
- Earlier that same Friday, according to Chamber Membership Director Renee Aloe, the Chamber had drawn more than double the participants in its Special All-Stars Day than the previous year.
“We had quite a bit, approximately 267 pre-registered,” she said. “Including parents, siblings and guardians, we had 450 in all.”
There were also more than 60 volunteers involved, Aloe said, as well as 300 businesses sponsoring or participating as vendors in the event. She believed that game action provided by the Dearborn Heights Soccer Club was the great hit of Special All-Stars Day; as the club provided goal nets, a bigger ball for people in wheelchairs, and Olympic medals.
There were two entertainments, she said, and “the huge one was Lil’ Jimmy Dean serenading us while we served refreshments in the vendor section,” and the other being a dance party with Motor City DJ.com. Refreshments were provided by the pizza vender Little Ceasar’s (at 3853 Monroe at the corner of Dartmouth in Dearborn), Yogurtown, Edible Arrangements, Sam’s Club, and Del Taco also providing food items. Another activity provided at the Chamber event was face painting.
“We more than doubled our participation, and we look forward to doing this again in 2015,” Aloe said.