Monday, June 21, 2010

Old Home Days celebrations across the Granite State are, well, old.
For more than 100 years, towns throughout New Hampshire have honored honor local traditions with the help of parades, chicken barbecues, live music and late-night fireworks. Who knew so much fun went into celebrating something so old?
Budgets, crowds, and themes vary from town to town, but Old Home Days celebrations have one thing in common: enthusiatic people coming together to celebrate their hometowns.
So how do communities keep retooling an occasion established as early as the late 1880s?
"We try to find a theme that is fun, that people will get involved in," said Pittsfield Old Home Day committee member Andrea Riel. "I think we have a pretty good parade."
The theme of Pittsfield's Old Home Day will be "School Days, a Blast From the Past." Riel says common school games including dodge ball, hopscotch, and jump rope will be available for kids. A spelling bee is in the works, too. And to top off the July 17 festivities, a Pittsfield High School all-class reunion is scheduled.
While Pittsfield is going back to school, Gilford residents will be in the fields. Herb Greene, director of the town's parks and recreation department is excited about "Harvest Fest."
On Aug. 28, residents will feast on a pancake breakfast, have a blueberry pie eating contest and an ice cream social.
Greene says up to 5,000 people typically attend the town's Old Home Day festivities.
Not all town celebrations revolve around themes. For some planners, a simpler event brings the best times.
"It's such a rewarding experience when everything comes together at the end of the day," said Diana Kindell, co-chair of Rumney's Old Home Day committee.
"It's people coming together and taking care of our town," said Al Baldasaro, finance chairman for Londonderry's Old Home Day committee. "The non-profit (organizations) come together to help the people in the town."
He said the event, now in its 111th year, will cost the town about $28,000 to run, but is worth every penny.

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