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Thousands turn out for 104th Jackson Homecomers
Saturday night brought an end to 104th annual Jackson Homecomers celebration sponsored by American Legion Post 158.
Overall the festival was a success, but the number of visitors seemed to be down from previous years because of the hot weather, said entertainment co-chairwoman Wendy Hayes. She estimated that between 3,000 and 5,000 people came to the festival throughout the week.
The celebration had live music, the Homecomers queen pageant, a 5K race with a 1-mile fun run for kids, concession and information stands, rides and carnival games.
"We were really pleased with the entertainment this year," Hayes said.
"Entertainment was stellar this year -- the best," said Kirk Williams of Jackson, who was master of ceremonies for the entertainment all week.
"Homecomers is just part of summertime in Jackson," Williams said.
The Jackson Municipal Band opened the festival Tuesday evening. The Homecomers Queen pageant also was held Tuesday.
High school senior Amiee Stockard of Jackson was crowned the 2012 Homecomers queen. Pageant chairwoman Merideth Pobst said six girls participated in the pageant.
Twelve acts participated in the Senior Idol Show and four groups took part in the Gospel Sing, according to Hayes. There were 35 contestants in two age groups -- 6 to 12 and 13 to 21 -- in Thursday night's annual talent show, which had to be moved to the American Legion hall because of a storm that moved through the area and closed down the festival, she said.
The talent show finals provided Friday night's entertainment. This year, eight past winners came back to perform.
The Old Santa Fe Band closed the entertainment out Saturday night.
Joyce Penny of the Jackson area brought three of her grandchildren Saturday night.
"Homecomers is a good chance to see a lot of people I haven't seen, and I love to see the smiles on the faces of my grandkids as they ride the rides," she said.
Capt. Bob Bonney of the Jackson Police Department said he has been attending Homecomers since he was a child and now works security at the festival.
"The older people come out for the bandstand entertainment, the middle aged come with either kids or grandchildren, and the teens are there just walking up and down the street," he said.
The rides seemed to be a hit with children.
Maddie Johnston, 8, of the Jackson area said she attended the festival three nights this year. She said she liked everything, but her favorite ride was the Wrecking Ball.
"Going on three rides was my favorite," said Grace Marshall, 7.
Eighteen vendors were set up during Homecomers, said Larry Koehler with the American Legion, who organized the vendors for this year's festival. He said that number was down a bit from previous years.
Kenny Koehler with the American Legion worked its hamburger stand. He said all the meat came from local sources and that money raised from the stand goes to help youth in the community.