Stan Rideout organized Sewickley's original Come On Home Weekend with a small group of black residents because he felt former locals needed a reason to come back home for a festive occasion.
The 46th annual tradition officially kicked off Thursday night with a meet and greet at the Walter Robinson American Legion Post 450, 20 Chadwick St. The four-day community-oriented reunion runs through Sunday.
According to organizers, the weekend encourages those who grew up here to bring family and friends to see where they grew up and to visit the places they used to frequent.
Rideout, former executive director of the Sewickley Community Center, was , for his work in spearheading the annual homecoming event that honors former Sewickley residents.
“Most certainly in a perfect world, Sewickley is tops,” Rideout told Patch.
Sewickley resident Bettie Cole wrote about the history of Come On Home Weekend in her book, "Their Story: The History of Blacks/African Americans in and ."
In the book, Cole explains that "Come On Home Weekend," which began in August 1967, was special because it wasn't a school reunion or a family reunion. It was a community reunion.
"When the big weekend finally arrives, an air of excitement and anticipation permeates throughtout the town as people anxiously inquire: Who came home? Did you see so and so ? Oh, I'm so glad this one or that one made it home; haven't seen them in years--and on and on and on. That's the spirit of the Come on Home," writes Cole, who also served as coordinator for 16 years.
One of the popular traditions that was the boat ride that picked people up in Sewickley and traveled to the Pointe in Pittsburgh. One year, the event attracted 600 attendees on the annual boat ride, according to Rideout. While the ride is no longer taking place, many of the activities planned for this weekend continue from the earlier traditions.
There is the Friday night bowling and the Saturday dance and cabaret. A morning golf outing and splash parties at the were added in the 1970s and are also part of this weekend.
Come On Home Weekend Activities
Friday, Aug. 3
6:30 p.m. Bowling, the Baden Bowl
9 p.m. DJ, Karaoke and a Dance Party
Saturday, Aug. 4
8 a.m. Golf Outing, Moon Golf Course ($38) Call Doug Jackson at 412-445-0756
11 a.m. Softball games at the Community Center Field
5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Free swim party (all ages) at the Community Center Pool with DJ Queezy
9 p.m. Annual Cabaret ($15) with the Red Velvet Jazz Band and DJ Sly Jock in the Post 450 Hall
Sunday, Aug. 5
4 p.m. to 9 p.m. “Sounds of Sunday”’ with DJ Stormin Normin at Post 450