Pomeroy homecoming is this weekend

POMEROY – Pomeroy’s annual homecoming celebration will be Friday and Saturday.

This is the fourth year of the event, said organizer Leonard Olson.

“I started this party three years ago, and I decided for a town with no school the best thing we could do would be to have a homecoming,” Olson said. “Absurdity works, I’ve discovered that.”

“You need a parade, a dance and a game. Those are the three things you need for a homecoming celebration.”

Byron’s bar in town was already holding an annual street dance, so Olson built the town celebration around that.

“Before we had homecoming, he had 75 people show up to his street dance. Last year there were 275 people, so it’s working,” said Olson.

A parade Saturday and softball tournament Friday and Saturday are the other two traditional parts of the homecoming celebration. Olson said parade entries are up nearly 20 percent compared to last year.

One of the highlights this year will be the official ribbon cutting of Pomeroy’s new playground, he said, at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

Three big new playsets and numerous other pieces were installed in early June after planning and fundraising by the Pomeroy Area Recreation for Kids group, or PARK.

“Those kids are just special – I call them kids because they’re 30-something and I’m 60,” Olson said. “They put their heads together and got a fundraiser going, and now one year later we’re dedicating $60,000 worth of playground equipment.”

The group will host an ice cream social immediately following the dedication. Then the softball tournament will begin at 8 p.m.

A new event this year is the Nick Holtapp Memorial Show and Shine, at 11 a.m. Saturday. There is no entry fee.

“We had a young man killed about a year ago. His folks have put together a show and shine in his memory,” Olson said.

There will be a 15k, 10k, 5k and 1 mile fun run at 10 a.m. Saturday, and a Lawn Mower/Golf Cart Poker Run with registration beginning at 2:30 p.m. at Gordon Prange Park.

The street dance will begin at 7 p.m. Saturday.

The softball tournament will feature eight community teams, mostly from Pomeroy, said Janelle Hinners, a member of the PARK group. Her husband is in the tournament.

The tournament is put on by the Men’s Club, she said, and has featured teams from Jolly, Fonda and Sioux Center in the past.

The homecoming is really just a lot of whatever people want to do, said Olson; it grows organically.

“I majored in partying at Iowa State in the ’70s, and I learned something very valuable. You never tell people what to do, just create an environment for a party,” he said. “As soon as someone says you know what you ought to do, you see if they want to run it. … It’s pretty much user-generated content we have here. Obviously it’s working very well.

“It brings people home, and that was the whole idea. From an economic development standpoint, everybody thinks their home town is so special, well it’s just as special as about 800 other towns in Iowa. It’s not really that special. But for somebody who’s from here, it might be special.”