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Homestead Days activities kick off Wednesday

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Members of the Marine Corps League lead the Homestead Days parade down Court Street last year. This year's parade will be Saturday at 10 a.m.

Beatrice will be alive with activity this week as organizers make last-minute preparations for the annual Homestead Days event.

Jacob May, Chairman of Homestead Days Committee, said excitement has been building, and this year’s Homestead Days will feature new events and returning favorites.

“People just enjoy the weekend in general because it’s a good community event,” he said. “Everybody is excited about it. There's a little something for everyone. We first of all love to have new people come in because new people means new ideas and make no mistake, we don’t have all the right answers. We try to do what we think is best for the community and events. Just having new volunteers and people on the planning committee is crucial to keep an event like this new and fresh.”

Homestead Days 2022 will be held June 22-26, with a wide variety of activities organizers hope will offer something for everyone.

“We’re super excited about all the things planned for this year and have been working hard on making plans, since basically last year’s Homestead Days wrapped up,” said Angie Bruna, Beatrice Area Chamber of Commerce Director. “Southeast Nebraska CASA has the Junior Ms. Homesteader talent contest Wednesday evening, and Thursday officially kicks off with our events on Fifth Street between Court and Ella streets. We have a color run that evening, ice cream social, different kid’s games and a tractor pull.”

In addition, area businesses are getting in the action with their own promotions and events.

The Thursday park festivities will be held from 5:30-8 p.m., with the color run happening at 7 p.m. Event registration starts an hour earlier, and the grand marshal of the parade will also be announced during the event at 6 p.m.

Friday afternoon there will be a family bike ride event from Chautauqua Park to Riverside Park and back. Bruna said the ride, which starts at 4 p.m., will highlight the recent additions to the trail system. Then from 5-8 p.m. there will be a free swim night at the Beatrice pool, and a cruise night event planned for the evening.

Saturday features the highlight of Homestead Days, the annual parade down Court Street at 10 a.m.

“It is the most highly-attended event throughout Homestead Days,” Bruna said. “We average 13,000 during normal years, but last year we estimated 14,000-15,000 because that many more people came out.”

Bruna said last week there were 75 entries registered for the parade, and she expected the number to near 90 by the big day.

Charles Park will be home to kids games and art in the park from noon to 4 p.m., ahead of another annual favorite, Ribfest.

Ribfest will be held from 4-11:30 p.m. at Stone Hollow Brewing Company located at 301 Court St.

“I definitely enjoy that and it’s a neat atmosphere there at Stone Hollow,” May said. “It just brings a whole different vibe to Ribfest and having an indoor/outdoor atmosphere has really helped. Last year everyone wanted to get out with the pandemic slowing down and it was phenomenal. It ended up being the best turnout we’ve ever had.”

Sunday activities include the annual car show from noon to 4 p.m. at Chautauqua Park, and a free fishing clinic at Rockford State Recreation Area.

New this year is a kickball tournament that will be held at 1 p.m. at Chautauqua Park. The event is being held by Youth Leadership Beatrice, and the $10 registration fee for kids of all ages benefits the Beatrice Community Food Pantry.

A complete listing of events can be found online at HomesteadDays.com, or for more information about events or how to volunteer, contact the Beatrice Area Chamber of Commerce at 402-223-2338.

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