After a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Homestead Days in Beatrice had a big return, with an estimated 14,000 people attending the parade alone.
The Beatrice Chamber of Commerce’s preliminary reports show that the week of events had 26,813 people in attendance. At the last Homestead Days in 2019, that number was 22,049 people.
Angie Bruna, the Executive Director for the Chamber of Commerce, noted that the Beatrice Mary Family YMCA’s kayak event was new to Homestead Days, and drew in a lot of participants. She said the MOPAR Car Show at Twin Rivers also had over 130 entries, which is more than in years past.
“It was a great weekend,” Bruna said. “We had a lot of fun. The town was super busy with all of the activities.”
Main Street Beatrice’s Ribfest event saw a change in location this year, moving to Stone Hollow Brewery on Court Street.
Main Street Director Michael Sothan said just over 1,500 people attended Ribfest, with 800 racks of ribs being sold, in addition to countless other meats, sides and desserts.
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“Weather and location turned out great for us,” Sothan said. “Really need to thank the community for coming out to attend the event and for our sponsors for helping us pull this event off.”
This year’s Homestead Days theme was “Cultivate Your Roots, Tell Your Tale”, and the parade winners for best use of theme was Beatrice Community Hospital and Health Center. Best float went to Homestead National Historical Park, best antique or classic entry went to MembersOwn Credit Union, the 3 G’s Saddle Club won best saddle club and horses, and the Beatrice Veterans Club Family won in the open category.
There were a couple instances of rainy weather last week that caused a few Homestead Days events to be postponed.
Bruna said the fireworks display will now be held Friday, July 9 after the races at the Beatrice Speedway. She said the Color Run and ice cream social scheduled on Thursday, June 24 were able to be rescheduled into the events last Saturday.
Overall, Bruna said the Chamber was hoping for a good turnout at the events, but that they weren’t sure what to expect for Homestead Days’ first year back.
“It was a great weekend, and we were just thrilled at how many people came out to support Homestead Days,” Bruna said. “A huge shout out to all of the volunteers and organizations, and our business sponsors, who pulled together to make Homestead Days happen. Without that collaboration, this event wouldn’t exist how we love it and know it today, so thank you to everyone who was involved.”