Winchester hosts Homecoming Festival

Pictured above is 2018 Winchester Homecoming Festival Queen MacKenzie Toole and her Court, crowned in ceremonies held Aug. 24. From left, First Runner-Up Laney Hesler; Second Runner-Up Whitney Hill; Quuen MacKenzie Toole; Third Runner-Up Jacklyn Humphrey; and Fourth Runner-up Sophia Mendivil. (Photo by Patricia Beech)

MacKenzie Toole crowned 2018 Queen – 

By Patricia Beech – 

Festivalgoers last weekend endured rain and muggy heat, but organizers of the Winchester Homecoming Festival say the weather didn’t seem to keep folks away.
“We had good size crowds every day, and everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves,” said Patsy Roberts. “Overall, everything turned out well, except for the storm Saturday night, but that only lasted a few minutes.”
Roberts said the festival’s popular Ghost Ride to the historic Winchester Cemetery had to be moved indoors when the storm hit.

Vendors, such as this popular Sand Art booth, lined the streets of Winchester as part of the 2018 Homecoming Festival. (Photo by Patricia Beech)

“You have to expect that kind of thing when you have an outdoor event,” she said. “We’d already taken several wagon loads through the tour, so we just moved the show into the fire department building so everyone still had the chance to see it.”
The three-day street fair kicked off Friday evening with MacKenzie Toole being chosen as the 2018 Festival Queen.
The North Adams High School senior said she valued the experience of participating in the festival pageant.
“It’s been a lot of fun, and I’m really enjoying myself,” she said after the pageant concluded. “I’m proud to represent my community.”

A number of local churches had floats prepared for Sunday’s Grand Parade. (Photo by Patricia Beech)

After graduating high school, Toole says she plans to attend college and earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing. She hopes to become either a nurse midwife or a nurse practitioner.
Toole’s royal court included: First Runner-Up Laney Hesler; Second Runner-Up Whitney Hill; Third Runner-Up Jacklyn Humphrey; and Fourth Runner-Up Sophia Mendivil.

Leading the Grand Parade on Sunday afternoon were Grand Marshals Kim Abbott, Shirley Link, and Mary McMurray. (Photo by Patricia Beech)

Sunday, Grand Marshals Shirley Link, Kim Abbott, and Mary McMurray led the annual festival parade down Main Street as crowds cheered and kids scrambled to fill their bags and buckets with candy tossed to them by parade participants.
“The parade was one of the nicest we’ve had in a while,” festival organizer Shirley Naylor said. “Everyone seemed to have a really good time.”

Vintage farm tractors lined the streets of Winchester and were part of the Grand Parade at this year’s Homecoming Festival. (Photo by Patricia Beech)