By DANIEL HERATY
DEARBORN – Weekend showers did not put much of a damper on attendance for 32nd Annual Dearborn Homecoming, city officials said.
City spokeswoman Mary Laundroche said about 120,000 people attended the festival, and that the high school reunion area, a large clearing that serves as Ford Field Park’s picnic area, was the busiest it’s been in about 10 years.
“The heat and the rain impacted (the festival),” she said, “The crowds were down, but we’re satisfied overall.”
Phillip Smith, commander of American Legion Post 364, thought differently. He said proceeds from their donation booth, which provides veterans and their families with financial assistance, totaled about $6,000, down about $2,000 from previous years. He blamed the loss of funds on lower attendance.
“The population was way down from previous years,” he said. “A lot of people didn’t show up because of the cost and the weather didn’t help much. We’ve had that booth for as long as Homecoming’s been around. People just didn’t participate for one reason or another.”
The city raised parking prices in order to make money from the festival, which hurt their proceeds and upset some visitors, Smith said.
“A lot of the customers were really upset, saying it was outrageous,” he said.
Elaine Greene, executive director of the Friends for the Dearborn Animal Shelter, said that making money is not the reason for their participation.
“We did about the same as last year ($1,300) as far as our merchandise sales and donations went,” she said. “Our main goal is community outreach and more about getting to meet people and encouraging them to adopt and volunteer.”
(Daniel Heraty can be reached at [email protected].)