Wauseon Homecoming History
Since the street fairs in early Wauseon, the tradition of coming home to celebrate has been an evolving into the present day three-day festival. Eventually the name Wauseon Homecoming was chosen for the annual gathering. The "big events" of the historic celebration include the Kiddy Parade, The Homecoming Queen Contest, and the Homecoming Parade.
The Kiddy Parade featured a Prince and Princess selected from the community and a host of small creative floats and decorated bicycles. This parade was a miniature version of the Homecoming Parade that followed later in the community celebration. The Kiddy parade award winners were later featured in the "big parade."
For many years, the Wauseon Homecoming Queen contestants represented the local businesses by wearing a sponsor's banner on the stage. There were no swim suits, only beautiful evening gowns, a brief prepared statement and questions for the finalists. The winner of the crown would ride in the Homecoming Parade with the Queen's Court. The Miss Northwest Ohio Pageant and the Miss Top Of Ohio Pageants both welcomed the Wauseon Homecoming Queen to compete in the Miss America Preliminary system. Ann Andrews (Foote) was one of the Homecoming Queens who was runner up to Miss Ohio, and Susan Short, a member of the Homecoming Queen's Court, later attended the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City as Miss Michigan! Kristina Austin Scarcelli was the 1984 Wauseon Homecoming Queen and a runner-up to Miss Ohio (Miss America) in 1988. Later, she was winner of the Mrs. Michigan Pageant and competed in the Mrs. United States Pageant in Las Vegas.
The Wauseon Homecoming Parade was known for the large decorated floats. Civic organizations and church groups took great pride in producing the extravagant floats that were often featured in the Toledo Blade. The parade attracted multiple regional marching bands and twirling units. Always welcomed in the parade were the local fire trucks and police units and the Honor Guard. The parade route was lined far in advance with local residents and tourists who came specifically to view the grand spectacle.
In addition to these events, the Homecoming included the flower show and the art show, bingo booths, a strolling rube band, the Elks wheel, also live stage entertainment and talent show. Along with the Merry-Go- Round, Tilt-A Whirl and Scrambler, residents will remember the Ferris Wheel and Rock-o-Plane rides that defined the opposite ends of the Homecoming venue on North and South Fulton Streets.
The drawing for the Wauseon Homecoming car kept the crowds waiting on the last evening of the street fair until the closing moments of the celebration. Fireworks in recent years have added one more bit of fun as the closing act. The Wauseon Homecoming has become one of the city's most important downtown events, bringing the community together, raising support for the Wauseon Parks, and celebrating the heritage of the town.