MORRICE — The Morrice Homecoming Festival made a comeback this year.
After not taking place in 2018, according to village Trustee Belinda Markell, officials decided to change up the format of this year’s festival to boost attendance.
The parade, which in years past took place in the early afternoon, kicked off at 7 p.m. and traveled down Main Street.
“We decided to go with a late parade this year because if you look around people are staying in town to enjoy themselves. We had a junk in the trunk sale earlier today and a bunch of people showed up. Then we had kids activities over in the park and it all culminates in tonight’s parade so people are still here enjoying themselves,” she said.
Markell explained the village is attempting to “turn back time” in a sense with this year’s festival.
“We’re trying to treat it as an old-time festival, a small-town event. My husband always talks about he used to love coming to all the small-town events because of all the fun things to do with family and the prizes he got to win. That’s what we’re trying to recreate here.”
This is Markell’s first year helping run the festival and she was pleased with attendance.
“I got involved with the Homecoming Festival because twice a month we hear from residents about ways to improve the village and I think this is a great way,” she said.
Village President Bob Dickerson agreed.
“This festival is so important to the community because of family. I’m so proud of this community and I have a lot of pride in Morrice,” Dickerson said.
The grand marshals for this year’s parade was the Morrice High School 2018 state championship eight-man football team.
“We decided that Morrice hasn’t had any state champions in a while and that team is so important to the community,” Markell said.
Dickerson delivered a proclamation from the village before the start of the parade.
“Let it be known that the village of Morrice takes great pride in its community and therefore Bob Dickerson the president of the village of Morrice does hereby declare the Morrice 2018 eight-man state championship football team as the 2019 Morrice Homecoming Festival Parades grand marshals,” the proclamation read.
“They’re our pride and joy he said pointing to the team. How many times can you say our guys won it, well our guys won it,” Dickerson told people.
“I think it’s very special to be recognized by the village of Morrice. All the kids worked really hard to achieve what they did and now they’re being recognizing the village and it’s great,”football coach Kendall Crockett said.
He said a state championship is special to Morrice because of the village’s size.
“We’re a small community and this is the football team’s first championship. As small as a village as we are we bond like a family and that’s what helped us win,” he said
Markell said the atmosphere during the championship run was special.
“You know what our theme song was? ‘(Take Me Home, Country Roads’ by John Denver. And that’s so Morrice. So now when everyone hears it they think of the team and the championship they were able to win,” she said.