The 60th Annual Vera Cruz Homecoming started off as a beautiful, sunny and slightly humid day. Attendees at the Aug. 21 event at socialized and ate as the band “School’s Out” played in the background.
A few hours later—people were running for cover as the skies darkened and the breeze picked up. Soon, the rain came down in sheets with thunder rumbling and lightning lighting up the sky.
Prior to the drenching downpour, residents and former residents of the village reminisced about their childhood days and previous homecomings of Vera Cruz. Paul and Barbara Ann Moyer of Dorneyville attend the homecoming each year—in the place where Paul’s grandparents once lived.
“[Paul] would ride his bike from Allentown, where he lived, to visit his grandparents here in the village,” said Barbara Ann.
Jim Engleman, 70, his brother, Jesse, 90, and their sister, Kathryn Rauch, 92, come to the homecoming every year, they said—Jim from Emmaus, Jesse from New Jersey and Kathryn still lives in Vera Cruz. They and their eight siblings were raised in a home on what is now Main Road West.
Vera Cruz Community Association Treasurer Dan Mohr, presented several community organizations checks before the weather changed—Vera Cruz EC Church, Emmaus Ambulance Corps, Vera Cruz Fire Company, Vera Cruz Fire Police, Vera Cruz Fire Company Ladies Auxiliary and the Vera Cruz Senior Citizens.
Betsey Schmeltzle, president of the community association, took the day in stride.
“It’s always very humbling to know there is something we can’t control, she said, referring to the weather. “We don’t do [the homecoming] to make a profit—it’s just to bring people together.”
Her husband, Terry, added, “In my 26 years of helping with this, I can count on one hand the number of times it has rained.
“Next year will be better.”