The Rochester Fourth of July Homecoming has been a tradition for the past 100 years.
Now residents of the small village and surrounding township are bubbling over as they prepare for the event’s centennial.
Kathy Frombaugh, has served as president of the Homecoming committee the past five years.
“Rochester’s such a small town and to continue to have a festival go on for 100 years, and to have all the people who have lived here in the past and now coming back as a big family, is what is so great,” she said.
About 2,000 attend the day-long patriotic festival. Frombaugh said she’s hoping to far exceed that number this year.
She is especially excited to see the Fourth of July fireworks display, which is expected to last 30 minutes.
“We’re spending twice as much money on fireworks this year and people normally love our fireworks to begin with,” she said.
The Homecoming celebration will be held on Thursday, July 4 at the Eagle Street Park and fire station.
It will start with coffee and donuts at 8 a.m.
Parade registration will run from 9-10:15 a.m. You can march for free and all are welcome.
The parade will begin at 10:30 a.m. and includes bands, floats, kids, cars, fire engines, 4-H groups, horseback riders, and much more. “This is the only parade you get to see twice,” organizers boast, because it travels down the street, turns around, and returns.
Eight categories are judged in the parade, including floats, horses, tractors, walkers or bicycles, automobiles, patriotic entries, businesses, and motorized bikes, four-wheelers, and golf carts.
First, second, and third place prizes will be awarded. There will be a $100 prize for the top float. Winners will be announced at the park during the early evening.
Lunch will be sold after the parade with hot dogs, sausages, barbecue, hot sandwiches, french fries, nachos, popcorn, and beverages including lemonade and slushies. There will also be funnel cakes, elephant ears, fried Oreos, cupcakes, and cotton candy for sale as well as homemade ice cream.
Starting at noon, vendors will sell crafts, collectibles, and more.
The Rochester Historical Society will hold an open house on South Street. A display of Rochester Homecoming pictures from the past will be on display at the park.
Singer Ava Rowland will perform from 12:30-1:30 p.m. on the park stage.
Karaoke will be available from 2-6 p.m.
Demonstrations by Rochester firefighters and LifeFlight will be held during the afternoon.
Old-time kids’ contests will start at 4:30 p.m., including egg toss, balloon toss, and wheel barrel races for all ages. An assortment of rides, games, and raffles will start at 5 p.m.
The band Minor Adjustments will play country-Western music from 6:30-10 p.m. Be sure to take your lawn chairs!
A free fireworks display will happen at the end of the evening, courtesy of the Homecoming committee and Rochester fire department.