STRONGSVILLE – Homecoming is just that, a coming home and a celebration of all the things that make us filled with hometown pride for Strongsville.

As anyone knows, home isn’t simply a place; it’s the people who make that place special. For many, Homecoming is a reunion, a chance to catch up with neighbors, family and friends and the perfect opportunity to forge new relationships. That’s what Homecoming is all about.

Homecoming is a community tradition that dates back 77 years. And though this tradition is labor intensive, it’s a labor of love the Strongsville Chamber of Commerce looks forward to each and every year as a way to give back to the community and showcase everything that makes Strongsville a strong community. The festival is sponsored by the Chamber, run by the Chamber and handled by individuals volunteering for the Chamber.

“It’s Strongsville’s signature event,” said Amy Ferree, the Chamber’s executive director.

Homecoming is July 17-20, and the theme, “Hometown Pride,” couldn’t be more appropriate.

“The Chamber’s been doing this 77 years. Every year, we couldn’t do without all the hundreds of volunteers who take vacation days and time off from work to help set up, work the event and take it down,” said Tom Burichin, chairman of Homecoming. “They run booths, games, food trailers. It’s every person from all walks of life helping one way or another. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Mayor Tom Perciak agreed and thanked the Chamber and all the volunteers who demonstrate hometown pride by working tirelessly to make this event possible year after year.

“The Strongsville Chamber of Commerce has played a significant role in the growth of our community and the business community,” he said. “The Strongsville Chamber continues to extend itself year after year to provide our residents and the businessmen and women of this community a spectacular homecoming event, which concludes with fireworks at 10 p.m. Saturday evening. I am personally grateful to all the volunteers who give of their time and talent for the good of our community. The volunteers especially demonstrate their hometown pride by giving up over a week of their personal time for the sake of the community.”

Homecoming begins at 3 p.m. Wednesday July 17 on the Commons with new rides, games and food. The Chamber is working with Bates Bros. Amusement again this year for its rides and games. Rides are $20 all day through closing each day of Homecoming with individual ride tickets also available.

The festival officially shifts into drive when the 46th annual Homecoming Parade steps off July 17 at 6:30 p.m. at Progress Drive on Pearl Road and continues to Westwood Drive. Parade goers are encouraged to creatively sport their hometown pride with lots of green and white.

Besides the traditional rides, games and food, Homecoming is known for the entertainment.

The Cleveland Breakfast Club, rocking out to the greatest hits of the ’80s, will own the stage opening night at 7:30 p.m. on the Commons.

Homecoming resumes at 3 p.m. Thursday, July 18 with entertainment by the rock and roll band Pop Culture at 7 p.m.

Festivities start back up again at 3 p.m. Friday, July 19. Dancers from Studio 82 will showcase their talent at 5 p.m. followed by country music ensemble The Caliber Band at 7 p.m.

Rides, games and food open at noon on Saturday, July 20, which is Homecoming’s “Kids Day.”

Quite the line-up of entertainment is planned: Balloon Bender Dave will be making balloon art from 12:30-2:30 p.m.; The Magic of Rick Smith Jr. will mystify guests at 1 p.m.; Disney princesses and the Strongsville High School choir will take the stage at 3 p.m.; Caliber Dance will showcase their moves at 4 p.m., followed by the Academy Irish Dance Company at 5 p.m.; and The Diamond Project, a Neil Diamond tribute band, takes the stage at 7 p.m.

Homecoming ends with a bang during the Light Up Strongsville fireworks display at 10 p.m., capping the four-day event.

Following the entertainment and fireworks July 20, one lucky guest will walk away a winner during the 50/50 raffle drawing, billed as northeast Ohio’s largest. Tickets are available now at the Marathon gas station at 16717 Royalton Road, Olympia Sweet Treats and Grille at 11606 Pearl Road and the Strongsville Chamber of Commerce at 18829 Royalton Road as well as during Homecoming at the 50/50 Raffle Tent.

Burichin invites everyone to come out and celebrate hometown pride and community together.

“Homecoming is the chance for friends and neighbors who live here now and who lived here and moved away or who might not get to see each other all year long to reunite on the Commons,” he said. “It’s a great way to reconnect, to spend time together taking a break from their hectic schedules and have lots of fun.”

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