Homecoming full of festival fun Aug. 1-3


Kellie Pickler is headline act Saturday

DEARBORN – Dearborn will celebrate its 35th annual Homecoming festival Friday through Sunday with entertainment led by country music artist Kellie Pickler, fireworks, 27 carnival rides, family activities, art demonstrations, and plenty of festival food.

It will also help more than 20 nonprofit groups fundraise for, and increase awareness of, their works in Dearborn.

Homecoming is a project of the city and the nonprofit Dearborn Community Fund. It is at Ford Field Park, 22051 Cherry Hill.

Homecoming is made possible because of businesses, organizations and individuals that fund a significant amount of the cost of the festival. It is once again presented by Oakwood Healthcare.

Kellie Pickler plays Main Stage on Saturday
The headline entertainment is Kellie Pickler at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. Pickler, known for hit songs like “Red High Heels,” “I Wonder,” “Things That Never Cross a Man’s Mind,” and “Best Days of Your Life,” rose to fame as a contestant on the fifth season of Fox Entertainment’s “American Idol.”

Following her appearance on the show, Pickler was signed in 2006 as a recording artist to the 19 Recordings/BNA records label and released her debut album, Small Town Girl, later that year. She has since released three additional albums.

Pickler has been nominated and received numerous awards from the Academy of Country Music Awards, Country Music Association, Country Music Television, American Country Awards, and the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers.

Pickler’s admiration for and dedication to the U.S. armed forces also aligns closely with the city’s commitment to honoring and supporting service members and veterans. Since 2007, she has participated in seven USO tours and 75 USO Entertainment events to lift the spirit of troops and their families.

Other entertainment
Main stage entertainment at 8 p.m. Friday is Larry Lee & Back in the Day Band.

Led by former Detroit Lions player and executive Larry Lee, the nine-piece band plays a mix of funk, jazz, classic rock, and Motown music. The band has shared stages with George Clinton, Smokey Robinson, Lionel Richie, the Temptations, and many other acts.

Performing at 8:30 p.m. Sunday on the Main Stage is The Infatuations. The Detroit-based band has crafted a catchy pop-rock-soul-and-funk sound that is both danceable and unforgettable. The band was nominated for 14 awards at the 2014 Detroit Music awards, winning five, including Outstanding Live Performance.

Other acts will also be performing on the Main Stage and the Food Court Stage throughout the weekend. The Pete “Big Dog” Fetters Band and Sunglasses After Dark will play on Friday; Corndaddy, Paulina Jayne, Junction Groove, and Native Run will perform Saturday; and Dearborn Big Band, Howlin’ Mercy, The Phoenix Theory, and Kaleido will help close out the festival on Sunday.

Alcohol policy is new for 2014
Under directives from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission, all alcohol must be purchased and consumed within four designated areas of the festival grounds.

Visitors cannot leave a designated area with alcohol and travel through the festival grounds. Visitors cannot take their drinks from one designated area to another designated area.

The four designated areas generally are as follows: a perimeter around the Italian Pavilion, including the picnic area and bocce ball courts; a perimeter around the Polish Pavilion; a perimeter around the American Legion tent; and a large perimeter west of the asphalt from the covered bridge to Brady that encompasses the Food Court, Main Stage, Dining Tent, Community Tent, Children’s Activity Field, classic car show area, reunion area, arts area, and fireworks viewing area.

Carnival — $14 online specials for all-day wrist bands (advanced sales only)
The carnival is open 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

Advanced sales of all-day wrist bands are $13, plus a $1 service fee, until 11:55 p.m. Thursday at www.cityofdearborn.org.

The online savings is significant. All-day wrists bands purchased at the festival Friday through Sunday are $20, still a good value. Other ride options are available.

There are no refunds on any carnival tickets.

Free shuttles
There is free parking and free shuttle service from Dearborn High School, sponsored by Henry Ford Health System and SMART.

The Dearborn High shuttle runs from 6 to 11 p.m. Friday, and noon to 11:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday of Homecoming weekend. Parking is free.

City vans will offer limited, free rides between Ford Field and West Village Drive, from Monroe to Military 5 to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Parking fees apply in the west Dearborn business district.

Ford Field parking is $10, with $7 re-entry rate
Parking rates at Ford Field Park during the festival are $10. Coupons will be given for $7 re-entry. Parking fees apply starting at 11 a.m. each day.

Festival parking rate in west Dearborn business district
All-day festival rate parking of $5 Saturday and Sunday applies in lots A, B, C, D, E, and H in west Dearborn. The festival rate is $3 in the parking decks on West Village Drive after 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

New for 2014
Oakwood Healthcare will operate a Wellness Tent from noon to 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday. The tent will offer free blood pressure checks, a nutrition information booth, and interactive healthy eating activities from noon to 4 p.m. each day.

An Access to Care information table operated by Healthy Michigan Plan and Oakwood will be open from noon to 6 p.m. each day.

Also new to Homecoming this year is an interactive display from the Friends of the Rouge that demonstrates how pollutants deposited on streets, parking lot pavement, roof tops, catch basins, and lawns will end up in adjoining bodies of water.

Friends of the Rouge representatives will interact with visitors from 4 to 8 p.m. on Friday and from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Blankets on the hill
Blankets can be put on the hill after 8 a.m. Saturday and Sunday to view the fireworks. All blankets must be removed by midnight both nights.

Blankets cannot be more than 8 feet by 8 feet. No stakes are allowed.

Car Show
The Cruisin’ Dearborn car cruise organized by the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce will begin at the 19th District Court at 7 p.m. on Friday and travel into Ford Field Park about 7:30 p.m. The classic car show will last until about 10 p.m.

Nonprofit groups raise money
Dearborn service clubs and charitable organizations will sell food, beverages and other items in the Food Court and other areas to raise money for their good causes that support Dearborn residents. Food trucks will also be on site, with some of the proceeds benefitting nonprofit groups.

Free children’s events
Free, “gentle” carnival-style games for children are offered noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. This is sponsored by Village Community Credit Union.

Free inflatable rides are offered for children noon to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, sponsored by Nickel & Saph Inc.

And “wacky games” for all ages take place from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The Dearborn Rotary Club will again sponsor the Free Fishing Derby at the Ford Field Pond at 8 a.m. Saturday.

Activities for people with special needs Friday

Returning this year 9 a.m. to noon Friday is Special All-Stars Day, a free event for people with special needs, presented by the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce. Pre-registration is required by Thursday at www.dearbornareachamber.org.

Tell me more
Go to www.cityofdearborn.org for the complete schedule.