The town of Ocean View will host its fourth annual Homecoming event on Saturday, May 11, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in John West Park.
“Years and years ago, they used to do it all the time, as an effort to bring people back to Ocean View who had moved away. So they had an opportunity to come home,” explained George Keen, who is chairing the event committee.
Homecoming was originally started in the early 1900s and lasted up until World War II. It was recently resurrected by the Town, with the help of the Ocean View Historical Society.
“It was a program that was sponsored by the Town and the Ocean View Historical Society. It is a Town event, because it always was one, and the Town needs to get credit for that,” said Keen. “We put together a bunch of volunteers who enjoyed doing things, and we’ve been growing ever since.”
Keen said the committee has tried to keep the event as close to what it was when it first started.
“We’ve had some ideas of what it was like in the past, and we’re been trying to keep it that way. We’ve got a lot of craft demonstrations. We try to keep them to period demonstrations. We’ve got a guy with a wood lathe, things like that.”
Along with crafters, Homecoming will feature kids’ games, live entertainment and local food.
“We’ve tried to use all the local vendors and restaurants that are in the town of Ocean View to supply us with food. We have two different musical performances, an Elvis performer and a rock-n-roll band .We also have the world’s largest traveling organ, the Grand Master Organ. If you’ve ever been to the Delaware State Fair, you’ve seen it, and it’ll be there all day long. We’ve got antique fire equipment, horse-and-buggy rides. We’ve got everything you can think of.”
A special reason to go to Homecoming this year is to see the Ocean View Historical Society’s labor of love, the Tunnell-West House.
“The biggest attraction we have this year is that the Ocean View Historical Society is going to have the Tunnell-West house open, as well as a replica of the Cecile Steele chicken house. The beginning of the broiler industry was in Ocean View, and we have built a replica of the chicken house, and it will be open and on display, as well as the first free-standing post office in the town.”
The event will be held rain or shine, and it is free and open to the public — both locals and visitors alike.
“One of the things we’ve tried to do by the way of the Town funding the event, as well as Fulton Bank, is everything is free. When you go there, you don’t have to pay for rides, for anything, except for whatever food you want to eat.”
Free parking will be available at nearby churches, with shuttle service taking visitors to the park.
“Last year, we had a tremendous amount of people, and every year it has grown. We’ve made every attempt to open it up so everybody can come and enjoy it.”
Keen said he hopes that families will enjoy Mother’s Day weekend and swing by Homecoming for some good old-fashioned fun.
“I hope people come and enjoy the family atmosphere that we try to provide. Every year so far, it has been a big family event. There have been many, many children. Lots of families gather. We want that tradition to stay on, to keep going.”