The Hillsboro Homecoming & Festival is expected to return this year, after it was canceled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Mandy Alley, administrator for the Greater Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the annual event.
The 2021 version is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, May 14-15, along and around Main Street in downtown Hillsboro, Alley said.
She said chamber members decided to move forward with festival plans after encouraging news last month about a decrease in new COVID-19 cases.
“We waited to make a decision on the festival until the last possible minute so we could assess our county’s situation,” Alley said. “We decided that because vaccines have come out and, in talking to the Jefferson County Health Department, they indicated to us we would not be restricted as to how many people would be allowed to attend our event, and we, hopefully, would be able to provide a safe environment.”
Alley said music acts and some other festival favorites are planned, although some activities included in previous festivals will not be offered due to the late start in organizing this year’s event.
The following music acts are scheduled to perform on a stage near the intersection of Hwy. BB and Locust:
Friday (May 14)
■ 8 p.m. to midnight: Power Play
“They’re a top-40 hits band,” Alley said. “They play funk, R&B, blues and Motown. This is their first time at the festival. They’re out of St. Louis.”
Saturday (May 15)
■ 12:30-3:30 p.m.: Shannon Cox
“He plays country and rock,” she said. “He’s a popular performer in the region.”
■ 8 p.m. to midnight: Johnathan Braddy Band (based in Crystal City)
“They do country and rock,” Alley said. “We have had them before. They are a wonderful band. I’m sure they’ll draw a huge crowd.”
Alley said some other activities are planned and more are in the works.
“We’ll have a cornhole tournament,” she said. “We’ll have carnival rides. We are in the process of lining up other activities. We are going to have a car show that Saturday along Main Street. The times are to be determined.”
She said precautions to maintain the public’s health will be taken.
“We will provide extra hand-washing stations and sanitizing stations,” she said. “We will ask that if people are unable to social distance, to wear a mask.”
Alley said chamber members feel their festival is more or less a test case for restarting large public gatherings after all the cancellations last year.
“We are, kind of, the first big event,” she said. “Everybody’s kind of looking at us to see how it goes.”
Alley said the Hillsboro Homecoming & Festival is vital to the chamber and the causes it supports.
“The chamber relies heavily on the festival for our fundraising,” Alley said. “It’s our biggest fundraiser.”
For more information, call the chamber office at 636-586-0041, visit its website at hillsborochamberofcommerce.com or go to the chamber’s Facebook page.