A tradition 39 years old is over in Conneautville.
The annual Homecoming with a week of various activities was held every July and included everything from queen pageants to frog jumping, from dances to a huge parade. Lack of people to organize the events, however, has resulted in the dissolution of the Conneaut Valley Homecoming Association — and the cancellation of the week of activities.
All three association officers decided last year that they could not continue doing the work — for various reasons, but not because they didn’t enjoy Homecoming. It just got to be too much, according to Sue Joslin, who served as secretary for many years.
“It was my hope that once people could see it was not going to happen, that hopefully somebody would take over,” Joslin said.
Meetings were held, urging others to attend and take over the responsibilities, but no one stepped forward and thus, the homecoming association was disbanded.
Several times in the past, officers had sought additional help and during those times people did step up, held fundraisers and took over some of the work.
Joslin said one man, Kevin McBride, who used to live in Conneautville, came back from Florida almost every year to do what he could to keep Homecoming alive.
But this year, the help just wasn’t there, Joslin said.
She said that although there is lots of help during the Homecoming itself with the various activities, it takes countless hours of work during the year to get ready.
As soon as Homecoming is over one year, plans are started for the next year — including raising funds to pay for insurance, tent rental, etc.
Joslin, who works at the hardware store in Conneautville, said she has heard many comments about Homecoming not being held and her question is always, “What would you like to do?”
“We need younger people, some fresh blood,” she said, adding that the older group had exhausted all the ideas for getting people involved. There is a lot of participation (during Homecoming), but not a lot of people to do the work all year, she said.
Joslin said the businesses in the area were great with funds for sponsorships of the various events. That wasn’t the problem. It was getting help to put on fundraisers and do the other preparation work.
She said that people not involved don’t realize how much goes on all year long to make Homecoming happen for one week.
The parade at Conneautville each year was about two hours long for many years, making it one of the largest in the area, if not the largest, she said. There were many floats, high school bands and other entries. However, in recent years the number of floats entered has declined and the length of the parade shortened. But it still remained quite large.
Although it is not an official homecoming, there are a few activities planned for the weekend of July 27.
“That’s great,” Joslin said of those plans. “Maybe it will build.”
She’s hoping that without Homecoming this year, maybe people will realize how much they miss it and will step forward to take over.
In the meantime, next year is the town’s 200th anniversary and plans are being made for a bicentennial celebration.
Gene Bocan is chairing that committee and Joslin said help is needed to move forward with those plans. Plans already are being made do not include a full week of activities, but there will be a celebration in the borough to mark the bicentennial.
Meetings are held the first Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. at Conneautville Borough Office.
“Anyone interested in working on the committee is welcome to come,” Joslin said. “We need help.”
A tradition 39 years old is over in Conneautville.
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