Building on decades of tradition to keep a community's younger residents engaged is always a challenge, but organizers have some new options for the 61st Annual Girard Homecoming.
First there is Jud Heald of UNTITLED skateboards from Joplin, Mo., who will perform a skating demonstration at 7 p.m. on Saturday in the city's central square.
The Lewellen Amusements Carnival located on Forest Ave just east of the square is in place for the entire celebration for the second year after a long period of absence.
And then there's the ongoing postseason campaign of the Kansas City Royals.
The event offers a unique and unexpected opportunity to get people pumped up for the Girard Area Chamber of Commerce's effort to support the baseball program at Girard High School: the Alumni Baseball Game at 2 p.m. Saturday in the high school field at Wutke Park.
"Really thinking about it, baseball usually isn't still going on this time of year," said Julie Smith, director of the chamber of commerce. "We have a lot of Royals fans in the community."
Homecoming week officially began on Tuesday with the Donkey Basketball Game.
Fans will be able to show their support for the Girard Trojans at 8:15 p.m. Thursday at the Community Pep Rally. Held at the Girard High School Football Field immediately following the Girard Middle School game, it is organized by the GHS Booster Club and Cheerleaders.
Friday night will feature the highlight Homecoming showdown between the Girard Trojans and the Frontenac Raiders on Friday after the 5 p.m. Tailgate Party and the Homecoming Queen coronation at 6:30 p.m. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
The busy schedule of Saturday events chiefly features the Homecoming Parade at 10 a.m. Line-up begins at 9 a.m. Set to serve as Grand Marshal of the Parade is the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7479.
Other Saturday events:
* Homecoming weekend festivities begin at 7 a.m. with the 5K and 1 mile Fun Run/Walk, with registration at 6 a.m for $25.
* A pancake feed will be held from 7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. in the GHS cafeteria.
* Flu shots will be offered starting at 8 a.m. at the Girard National Bank.
* Free cancer screening starting at 9 a.m. will be available at the Girard Civic Center.
* The Car Show will begin at 9 a.m. on the south side of the square.
* The Cake Walk will be held at 11 a.m..
* A Karate demonstration will be held at 11:30 a.m. at the gazebo.
* The Farm Tractor Show will be at 11 a.m. on Prairie Street south of the square.
* The Turtle Race/Kids Game is at Noon.
* School fundraisers like Chicken Poop Bingo and the After Prom Dunk Tank will be at 1 p.m.
* The Bean Feed will be at 2 p.m. at the Girard American Legion.
* The Senior Drawing, with the grand prize of an iPad will be at 6 p.m.