Annual event allows guests to support nonprofit groups through food, beverage, merchandise sales
DEARBORN – Homecoming will have a number of nonprofit groups raising support for their work in the community through food, beverage and merchandise sales. Nonprofits will also be raising awareness for their causes through information and activities.
All the food and beverages offered outside the carnival area benefit various nonprofit groups. Organizations also promote their causes with activities in the Community Tent, as well as throughout the festival grounds.
“For us, it’s a big event for the city and it’s a big fundraiser,” said James Rugenski, chairman of the Kiwanis Club of Dearborn Outer Drive. “This is our 12th year doing the Turtle Derby.”
At Homecoming, the Kiwanis Club hosts a Turtle Derby on Sunday afternoon. Participants can “adopt” rubber turtles that are dropped off a bridge into the Rouge River, to be captured by a trap at the end. Whoever’s turtle gets to the end first will receive a grand prize of $1,000. Other prizes include Detroit Tigers tickets and restaurant gift cards.
The money raised by the Kiwanis Club goes toward funding a number of youth-focused projects in Dearborn.
“All the money that’s collected goes back into the community,” Rugenski said.
One major program the Kiwanis Club helps to operate in Dearborn is Safety Town, a program that teaches children about staying safe while dealing with traffic. The program also provides fire, poison, electrical, animals, and “stranger danger” safety awareness.
In addition to Safety Town, the Kiwanis Club also runs the Dictionary Project, in which it donates 1,600 “geographic dictionaries” to 24 Dearborn schools. The dictionaries include the periodic table, maps and biographies of U.S. presidents, providing an educational experience for youth.
“For the last 10 or 12 years, we’ve given every third-grader in Dearborn a dictionary,” Rugenski said.
Also returning to Homecoming this year will be the Friends for Animals of Metro Detroit.
“It’s just a great way to see the community and let the community see us,” said Emily Kirby from FAMD, adding that many people learn about the organization at the event, while those already familiar are excited to speak about pets they’ve adopted through FAMD. “It’s great to connect that way.”
FAMD will offer homemade dog treats and assorted FAMD-branded merchandise.
“Our homemade Fido’s Bakery treats are our No. 1 seller,” Kirby said.
Proceeds from FAMD’s Homecoming sales go toward the shelter’s general operations, including animal care and programs, such as lost and found services, fundraising events and community education.
FAMD and Kiwanis Club of Dearborn Outer Drive are just two of the community-focused nonprofits participating in Homecoming this year.
All the nonprofits at the festival work toward a range of worthwhile efforts including assisting veterans, rescuing abandoned animals, providing scholarships, supporting youth programs, supplementing funds for high school activities, giving a boost to low-income families and supporting cultural arts.
The Dearborn-based nonprofit groups involved in Homecoming are: ACCESS, American Legion Post 364, American Moslem Society, Arab American National Museum, Bike Dearborn, Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce and Dearborn Community Arts Council.
Also, Dearborn Federation of Teachers, Dearborn Firefighters Burn Drive, Dearborn Goodfellows, Dearborn Police Explorers, Dearborn Outer Drive Kiwanis, Dearborn Rotary Club, Dearborn Soccer, Disabled American Veterans and Edsel Ford Booster Club.
Also, Exchange Club of Dearborn, Fairlane Alliance Church, Fordson Varsity Alumni, Fr. Patrick O’Kelly Council Knights of Columbus, Friends for the Animals of Metro Detroit, Henry Ford College Ceramics Club, Italian American Fraternal Club, Warrendale Community Church and WHFR.
The Dearborn Community Fund, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting cultural arts and recreation, partners with the city of Dearborn in organizing Homecoming.
For 40 years, Homecoming has been a tradition coordinated by the city of Dearborn and the Dearborn Community Fund. This year’s presenting sponsor is once again Beaumont Health.
The festival takes place from Aug. 2 to 4 at Ford Field Park, 22051 Cherry Hill Road. Admission is free. Parking onsite is $10, and a coupon for $7 re-entry is available. A free shuttle with free parking is offered at Dearborn High School, 19501 W. Outer Drive. Other free parking is nearby in the west Dearborn business district.
For more information on Homecoming, go to www.cityofdearborn.org/Homecoming.