UTICA — “Utica’s Birthday, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow — The Legacy Lives On,” was the theme of the 78th annual Utica Homecoming when the four-day festival opened Wednesday evening.
The grand parade kicked off the festivities as marching bands, ball clubs, politicians, fire and rescue units, churches and others made their way from the high school, down Central Avenue and back to the school, as the streets were lined with those waiting to view the parade attractions.
The opening homecoming ceremonies followed at the downtown stage. After Pastor Bruce Hissong gave an opening prayer, Utica Police Chief Bob Curtis and Utica Mayor Larry Friesel gave their opening remarks, welcoming everyone to the annual homecoming celebration.
“We want to thank the fire department and auxiliary for all their efforts, and we invite everyone to spend all four days here at the homecoming,” said Friesel. Assistant Fire Chief Rob Pierpont then spoke on behalf of the Utica Fire Department and Auxiliary, sponsors of the annual homecoming.
“We want to thank everyone for coming out; a huge thanks goes to Scott Gilbreath for organizing this event. And of course a huge thanks goes to the firefighters for all they do 24 hours a day,” said Pierpont.
Friesel then introduced the selected royalty for the 2010 homecoming. Selected as Grand Marshals were Carmel and Linda Oiler, owners of Oiler’s Meat Processing. “We want to thank the fire department and the residents for supporting us for the past 36 years in business. We also thank our friends and family for their support,” said Linda Oiler. The Oilers are active in school events and the PTA. “We are not joiners, but we help out with a lot of area events,” added Linda.
Chosen as the 2010 Utica Homecoming King and Queen were Bill and Connie Broseus. Bill was involved with the fire department for many years. He helped form the local Jaycees club, and he and Connie owned a restaurant for many years as well. Bill is retired from Rockwell International and also operated a welding shop. “We want to thank those who nominated us as well as everyone who voted us in,” said Bill.