GIRARD — The 63rd Annual Girard Homecoming is focusing on new projects in the city with its theme, “Building a Better Tomorrow.”

The city has had many new projects over the last year, and Girard Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Julie Smith said homecoming seemed like the perfect time to celebrate.

“We’re really excited about projects that the school and city have completed,” Smith said. “The elementary and high schools have new renovations, and the city had the four-way stop and water tower projects.”

Homecoming also marks the celebration of a new project. Construction crews will begin rolling into Girard Monday to start work on the city’s streetscape project, and an official groundbreaking ceremony will take place Saturday after the homecoming parade at 10 a.m.

Aside from the parade and new projects, Girard Homecoming features events all weekend.

The celebration starts with a pep rally at 2 p.m. Friday on the square. Students from all three schools will march to the square and the public is encouraged to join in the festivities. A tailgate party takes place at 5 p.m. leading up to the football game between the Girard Trojans and St. Mary’s Colgan Panthers. The Homecoming Queen Coronation starts at 6:30 p.m. and football kickoff is at 7 p.m.

On Saturday, events start early with a 5k and one-mile color run at 7 a.m. Entry fees are $20 in advance, $25 the day of the run. Early morning activities also include a pancake feed at Girard High School Cafeteria from 7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and flu shots from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Girard National Bank. The pancake feed is $5 per person, while flu shots cost $24 — insurance also accepted.

The rest of the day will feature events at the gazebo on the square, such as a cake walk, children’s games, a doggie beauty pageant and more. A raffle also takes place at the gazebo at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the chamber or from Girard High School seniors. Tickets are $1 and prizes include cash, gift certificates and a 32-inch television.

Other events include a car show, tractor show and free bean feed. Lawn mower races will make their debut at Girard Homecoming at 1:30 p.m. on Summit Street.

The Girard High School Class of 1979 will host a beer garden with live entertainment in the Marvin Green Building at the Crawford County Fairgrounds. The beer garden opens at 6:30 p.m. and will feature piano player Jason Whorlow live from 8 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.

Smith said this is the first time in a couple of years that Girard Homecoming has not taken place the same weekend as Pittsburg State’s homecoming.

“We’re excited to invite people from Pittsburg, the rest of Crawford County and beyond to see the great things we’re doing here in Girard,” she said.

A full schedule of events can be found at girardchamber.com.

— Chance Hoener is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be emailed at choener@morningsun.net or follow him on Twitter @ReporterChance.