By Randy Arrington
STANLEY, June 29 — Excitement continues to build this week for the return of a summer staple in Page County — the 54th annual Stanley Homecoming, which kicks off Wednesday, June 30 and runs through Saturday, July 3.
“We’re excited about getting back and seeing how many people will come out,” Stanley treasurer and office manager Leon Stout said on Tuesday afternoon from Ed Good Memorial Park. Stout was overseeing final preparations for the event as the coordinator of this year’s Homecoming.
“Our carnival folks say places they’ve been recently they’ve gotten double the crowds because people are so ready to get out,” Stout added.
One year ago, Ed Good Park sat quiet around July 4th as the Homecoming Committee canceled its plans for the event in late May of 2020. The annual Homecoming began in 1966 and had not missed a single year until the COVID-19 pandemic broke that 53-year streak. Now, after two years of waiting, this year’s Homecoming is touted as being the best ever.
One of the biggest new attractions at this year’s Homecoming will be the addition of a permanent stage at the far end of Ed Good Park. After a few years of discussion and planning, and large donations by Pioneer Bank and an anonymous donor, the idea of a permanent stage for Town events will become a reality when the Homecoming entertainment lineup kicks off Wednesday.
The Miss Stanley Homecoming pageant has already drawn the most participants in its history, being cut off at 85 entries spread out among a dozen age divisions. Top prize for Miss Stanley Homecoming (ages 16-21) is a crown, an embroidered sash and $500; first runner-up receives a medal and $200; 2nd runner-up receives a medal and $100. Winners in specialty categories such as Best Hair, Best Dress and Personality will receive certificates. The Peoples Choice winner will receive a sash and crown.
The pageant kicks off the annual Homecoming’s entertainment lineup at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 30. The pageant’s contestants are required to be all-natural with noting fake, and “unsportsmanlike conduct is not permitted,” according to the pageant flyer.
The fourth annual Stanley Homecoming “I’ve Got A Voice” competition sponsored by Hazzard County Recording Studio also helps kick things off at 8 .m. on Wednesday. Three finalists will be picked after the initial performance to perform at the competition’s finale on Saturday, July 3. First place wins $500, a trophy, plus 10 hours of recording time at Hazzard County Recording Studio; second place wins $250, a trophy, plus five hours of recording time; and third place wins $100, a trophy, plus three hours of recording time.
Thursday night will see Kevin Johnson and Augusta Blue hit the stage at 7 p.m., with the Spencer Hatcher Band providing the nightcap at 9 p.m. On Friday, Who Shot John will provide the musical entertainment beginning at 8 p.m.
Miss Tatum Sheppard, the 2021 Miss Virginia winner, will make her first debut as Miss Virginia in the Stanley Homecoming Parade at 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 3. Currently, the parade has nearly 100 entries with a few last-minute additions expected. Following the parade, Town officials will present several awards to recognize various citizens and businesses.
Saturday evening wraps up the four-day festival with the “I’ve Got A Voice” finale, music from Highway 340 and, of course, fireworks (about 9:30 p.m.).
The construction of a permanent stage at the far end of Ed Good Park has actually allowed the Homecoming festival to expand quite a bit within the park, according to the event’s coordinator. The Town will actually offer a shuttle, via golf carts, for festival-goers from the parking lot area back to the stage area.
“It actually about doubles the size of Homecoming, area-wise,” Stout said. “Having the stage and moving the rides to the parking lot allows for a few more set-ups within the park.”
The carnival portion of the activities will be moved closer to Main Street, which is going to allow for the addition of two more rides (for a total of 10). More than a half dozen food vendors, as well as carnival games and rides, will be available each of the four nights of the festival. Thursday night will be Kid’s Night with a special on ride wristbands for $15 (normally $20).
Town officials are encouraging homeowners and businesses along the parade route to be “unique and creative” in showing their red, white and blue American pride through its fourth annual Decorating Contest. Displays should be ready by Thursday, July 1 before they are judged on Friday and Saturday, July 2-3. Winners will be announced on July 4, with $50 to first place, $25 to second place and $15 to third.
A raffle is being held for a multifunctional fire pit package — 32-inch square with grate, lid, poker, cover, two throws, two 20-oz. cups with lids and straws, two Duralogs, refillable lighter, two cans of “Off” bug spray, five expandable skewers, and a Hershey’s smores kit. Raffle tickets are one for $2, three for $5 or a book of 15 for $20. Drawing will be held at 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 3. Need not be present to win. Raffle tickets are being sold by Stanley Homecoming Committee members and at the Town Office.
Also, 2021 Stanley Homecoming collectible cups will be available at the event (supplies are limited). The cost is $5 per cup with tea, with $1 refills in the cup for the rest of the week.
“People are really excited,” Stout said. “They’re excited to get back out, they’re excited about the changes we’ve made, they’re excited about the new stage.”
“They’re just plain excited,” Stout continued. “And we hope to see everyone there.”
54th annual Stanley Homecoming — SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Wednesday, June 30
• 6 p.m. — Miss Stanley Homecoming pageant
• 8 p.m. — Annual “I’ve Got A Voice” competition
Thursday, July 1
• Kid’s Night Special – $15 wristbands (for rides)
• 7 p.m. — Kevin Johnson & Augusta Blue
• 9 p.m. — Spencer Hatcher Band
Friday, July 2
• 8 p.m. — Who Shot John
Saturday, July 3
• 5 p.m. — Parade (Lineup at 4:30 p.m.)
• After Parade — Town Awards
• 8 p.m. — “I’ve Got A Voice” competition
• 9 p.m. — Highway 340
• 9:30 p.m. — Fireworks
Ed Good Memorial Park is located at 322 E. Main St. in the Town of Stanley. For more information about Homecoming, call the Town Office at (540) 778-3454.
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