BEATRICE - After a one-year break due to Covid-19, local residents and visitors got the chance to enjoy Homestead Days events this year…..the celebration wrapping up on Sunday in the Beatrice area.
"We were at Charles Park with kids activities, we had Arts in the Park, we had Omaha Street Percussion, we had BHS Cheer and the Black Diamond Dancers...I would say we saw about two thousand people come through Charles Park, alone. Talking to people who came down to Chautauqua Park for the flea market, they were just busy down here all day....so, it was really good to see people out and about, again. The parade, the streets were lined with people. I always think it's amazing between nine and ten o'clock how many people fill in, on the streets."
Beatrice Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Angie Bruna says a total of 77 entries participated in the Saturday parade, an event that usually draws over ten-thousand viewers.
Celebration organizers went into this year hoping to see people return to participate in the celebration, after the one-year break due to Covid.
"The thought had crossed my mind at one point as we were planning the parade. A week and a half ago, we had about forty parade entries, and we thought maybe we were just going to have a smaller parade this year, because it is the year after everything. But, the community came together and within that last week, we got about thirty parade entries. I think that just shows people are ready to get out, and we worried, for nothing."
Two new features this year included a bandstand anniversary observance and kayak adventures along the Big Blue River.
"That's one of my goals at the chamber, is to really get the community involved in Homestead Days. We're a small staff. We have three-and-a-half people that put together all of our activities and work with our volunteers. So, the more organizations and the more volunteers we can get to take pieces on, the better Homestead Days will be, overall. Very excited to see those things happen and hopefully they can continue."
The annual Saturday parade and a Sunday car show at Chautauqua Park are always two of the most popular and well-attended events. Bruna says Ribfest attendance was booming Saturday night, outside the Stone Hollow Brewery downtown, along Third Street.
A fireworks display planned for Friday night had to be called off due to rain. But, it has been rescheduled for July 9th, after Beatrice Speedway races.