Monster changes for Waterloo Homecoming

A monster truck show at the fairgrounds is the featured attraction of the 2023 Waterloo Homecoming. 

For an event which has been held for over 100 years, change is inevitable.

Homecoming organizers with the Waterloo Lions Club and Metzger-Crook VFW Post 6504 announced last week the Waterloo Homecoming will be different going forward. 

For many years, the homecoming has been held at the end of August on a Friday and Saturday evening in and around the Monroe County Courthouse Square, but this year it will be a one-day-only event on Saturday, Aug. 26.

The venue will also be changing, and the homecoming picnic will take place at the Monroe County Fairgrounds in Waterloo.

In a press release for the Republic-Times, Waterloo Lions Club Treasurer Ron Mueller explained the reason for the move was the clubs’ inability to secure carnival rides.

Mueller further explained that amusement companies are moving away from set-up and breakdown of rides and games for events lasting only one or two days.

Instead of rides and games, organizers are hoping to draw crowds with a monster truck show from 7-9 p.m. presented by Full Throttle Monster Trucks. 

“There will be plenty of food, soda and beer for everyone to enjoy, and a band will play following the monster truck show,” Mueller said.

He also added organizers are attempting to secure the famous Bigfoot monster truck as part of the show.

The event will be free for children ages 12 and under. 

Organizers said tickets for the monster truck show will be $15 in advance or $20 at the gate, with the fairgrounds opening at 4 p.m.  

Waterloo VFW trustee Butch Sparwasser said there will be a rain date of Sunday, Aug. 27, should inclement weather threaten the monster truck show.

Sparwasser explained the homecoming committees decided, “Let’s do something different this year.”

 He added organizers are looking to gain visitors from surrounding cities as well with the monster truck show at the fairgrounds.

Plans are in the works to promote the event by possibly partnering with St. Louis radio station 92.3 FM WIL.

“I think it will be good for the community,” Sparwasser said of the changes.

Monroe County Fair Association President Don Schrader said the fair board is “glad to host” the Waterloo Homecoming and said he thinks it is “going to be a great event.”

Schrader also said he was pleased organizers decided to keep the homecoming parade along its traditional route in downtown Waterloo.

Although the parade will start earlier this year – 1 p.m. – the route will be the same, following the normal route of Columbia Avenue to Main Street to Mill Street to Library Street.

Sparwasser said this year’s parade will be “bigger than ever,” adding he would also like to see Bigfoot make an appearance.

He clarified Bigfoot would not be driven through the streets of Waterloo. Rather, it would be hauled on a trailer as a parade float if event planners are able to secure the truck for homecoming.

Waterloo Mayor Tom Smith was also happy the parade will stay on its traditional route, saying it will give parade attendees a chance to enjoy downtown restaurants before and after the parade.

“I think it will be a great fundraiser” for homecoming organizers, Smith said of the move to the fairgrounds. “I wish them well.”

Coincidentally, the newest homecoming format mirrors one of the earliest iterations of the event organized by the Waterloo Commercial Club as a one-day event held Sunday, Sept. 5, 1915.

Attendance at that event   was estimated to be around  4,500 people from all parts of Monroe, Randolph and St. Clair counties. 

A parade stepped off from the courthouse square and then traveled west to Bicklehaupt’s Park (near the intersection of Route 3 and Park Street in Waterloo), where attendees were treated to food and drink, entertainment and inter-community contests.

A write-up of the event in the Sept. 10, 1915, Waterloo Times described the homecoming as a “red letter day” and credited the event with breathing new life into the community.

Current organizers are hoping the latest change might have the same revitalizing effect on the Waterloo Homecoming itself.  

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Scott Woodsmall

HTC web