FRONTENAC — Riding the triumphant return from last year, Frontenac Homecoming is back this weekend, and it's bigger with more events. Bringing back the carnival and adding more days the festival is beginning to resemble the action packed event of decades ago before it was shelved for several years.
This year's homecoming will feature three days full of events including two street dances, dog races, kid’s games, tournaments and the Rollin' Nostalgia cars.
Although certainly fun for all ages the underlying importance of the homecoming festivities goes further according to Homecoming Committee member Linda Grilz.
"Homecoming gives our community the opportunity the come together like family - to have picnics, play games and take pride in our rich history,” she said. “It is a great opportunity to roll out the "welcome back" sign to those near and far to celebrate with us."
The homecoming theme is a tongue in cheek celebration of the Italian ties to the town, toting The Godfather style artwork and a slogan of "It's a family tradition." Old favorites like turtle races and a large community parade are returning as well.
"Our history was a melting pot of nationalities but Italians lead those numbers,” Grilz said. “We felt The Godfather theme would be a fun to demonstrate what it feels like to be a part of that family tradition."
The history of the town will certainly be front and center with the Heritage Hall Exhibit returning. The exhibit which is larger this year features hundreds of pieces of Frontenac history. The vast array of items varies from old photographs and newspapers to recorded interviews and pieces of the old high-school.
Brady Hill, a high school teacher and committee member said the importance of exhibit goes well beyond people reliving old memories.
"I brought some of the football players up here to help set up,” Hill said. “They spent almost a half hour just looking around before we got to work. They wanted to see their dad's in the old yearbooks, check out the pictures of the town. As a history teacher sometimes it's hard to get them to connect to the past. This makes it easy for them to make that connection."
Hill, whose family are longtime Frontenac residents, remembers homecomings from his childhood and stressed how much he wants that experience for future generations.
"I remember being uptown, and just everyone was there,” he said. “Everyone came back to visit, and have a good time together.
The event which is organized by volunteers is made possible by generous support of local people and businesses.
"We have a unique community here,” Hill said. “We're all so connected and the businesses are no different. They understand that, and they are great about their support."
Fellow committee member Seth Nutt said his commitment to volunteering is rooted deeply in his hope for future generations.
"One of the things that really motivates us as a committee is the memories we have as kids, and how those were the kind of memories you never forget,” Nutt said. “That feeling of belonging to a community and it’s history. We want this generation of kids the opportunity to be able to do the same."
The homecoming events kick off downtown today at 6 p.m. with events like a hot dog feed, carnival, pony rides and a street dance. More information is available at the Frontenac Homecoming Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/frontenachomecoming.