BELLEVILLE - Although it was smaller and later than usual, the 25th annual Belleville Homecoming Festival took place despite the Sept. 16 tornado that damaged dozens of homes and structures in the Belleville area.
Originally the 2010 festival was to take place Sept. 17, 18 and 19.
Debra Buckley, president of the homecoming, said while the festival was one day, it was still the same.
Belleville Homecoming 2010
"We got the area cleaned up and we've had spectacular weather," she said Saturday. "We had a good crowd today and the car show has drawn more entries than ever before."
Pastor Larry Dale, of Baptist Temple in Parkersburg, was the master of ceremonies for the festival on Saturday. He said this year was one of rebuilding for the festival and the surrounding community.
"In the opening I presented the message of Isaiah, Chapter 61, which talks about rebuilding," he said. "I also used the passage of scripture from John 15, where Jesus says there is no greater love than someone lay down their life for someone else."
Photo by Jeffrey Saulton
Kara Jordan of Ravenswood was among the contestants in the Oreo contest where the object was to move the cookies from the forehead to her mouth without using her hands.
Dale said Joseph Freeman and Pfc. David Alan Hess were examples of the later passage.
"David (Hess) was defending our country and Joe (Freeman) he actually saved his wife's life," he said.
"I would say the family and others in the community are still mourning that death, but we gave tribute to both."
- ?The car show attracted more entries than ever before at the Belleville Homecoming Festival.
- ?The event had to rescheduled after a tornado damaged dozens of homes in the Belleville area.
- ?The event was originally scheduled for Sept. 17, 18 and 19.
Flags at the festival were flown at half-staff in memory of Joe Freeman, the only Belleville resident who died in the storm, and Hess who died Oct. 10 while serving as a U.S. Army paratrooper with the 101st Airborne in Afghanistan.
Buckley said due to the September storm the Homecoming was changed to a one-day festival for this year, but the former weekend schedule will resume for the 2011 edition.
"We took a two-day schedule and made into one," she said. "We had as many of our original events as we could under the circumstances. Next year we will be back to the old schedule."
Buckley said the reduced schedule made for a busy day on Saturday and no admission was charged for the event.
"Everything was free," she said. "There was no admission, there was no admission to the car show and we did not charge vendors and concessions, but if they do well we asked them to give us a donation."
Less Brush, board member and organizer of the car show, said there were 97 entries in the show, a record,.
"We've had this as part of the homecoming for several years but this year's was the largest," he said. "Usually we 65 or so come in for the show."