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Joyce Endee

Gilford Celebrates 200 years and counting at Old Home Day

Master of Ceremonies Bob Pomeroy dedicates the 2012 Old Home Day celebration to Don and Mary Cheseborough. Marry accpets the dedication on her late husband’s behalf. (Jeff Ferland) (click for larger version)
August 29, 2012
The Gilford community wished their town a "Happy Birthday 200 Years and Counting" at the 93rd annual Old Home Day celebration Saturday, Aug. 25, with a huge parade, fireworks and plenty of food, fun and games for everyone.

Parade floats were dressed up to look like birthday cakes, and many parade participants wore party hats as they marched down Belknap Mountain Road shouting "Happy Birthday, Gilford!"

According to Herb Greene, Parks and Recreation Department Director, they received 68 official entries, with a few more who joined in the celebration.

Earlier in the morning, the Gunstock Nordic Association held their 35th annual 5K road race, and the Gilford Rotary Club hosted their 28th annual pancake breakfast.

The Gilford Police Department's K9 Officer, Sgt. Dustin Parent, gave a police dog demonstration with his partner, Agbar. Accompanying Parent and Agbar were K9 unit in training Officer Adam VanSteensburg and 18-month-old Ike, who stopped by to meet the crowd at the village field.

VanSteensburg dressed in a protective suit for Parent and Agbar to show what a police K9 unit can do in apprehending suspects on the run. According to VanSteensburg, he and Ike will replace Parent and Agbar as Parent takes a promotion and Agbar retires from patrol duties when Ike earns his patrol certification.

Many town departments and community organizations host annual fundraisers at Old Home Day to support their efforts throughout the year, like the Gilford Firefighter Relief Association sausage sub sale. The Friends of the Gilford Public Library hosted their annual book, pie and ice cream sale, one of their largest fundraiser of the year, which helps fund the summer reading program. They began selling their items Friday eventing, and by early Saturday afternoon, they had sold out of pies, but still had plenty of books. New this year, they held a silent auction for the Balsams Bed donated by a library trustee for the summer reading program.

Friend of the Library Miriam York said they received 32 donated pies from supporters of the Library, and the ice cream was donated by Sawyer's Dairy Bar.

"This couldn't be done without our volunteers," said York, adding that it's sometimes tough to turn that oven on to bake pies in the summer heat. "Without their generosity, this couldn't be done."

At the book tent, Friends of the GPL Sandy Coutermarsh and Blandine Shallow said they had a great day selling books, and thanked everyone for their help and participation in the annual sale. They said they sold many of the new 2013 "Scenes of Gilford" calendars, still available any time at the Library's front desk.

The Opening Ceremonies commenced at noon with the National Anthem, sung by Marlene Makowski while Commandant of the Lakes Region Marine Corps Leauge Bob Patenaude and Bob Pelland of the Marine Color Guard raised the flag at the Village Bandstand.

At the opening ceremony, Master of Ceremonies Bob Pomeroy announced the 2012 Old Home Day celebration dedication to Don and Mary Cheseborough for their dedication to the Gilford community, serving on the Old Home Day Committee for more than 30 years, the School Board, participation with the Gilford Outing Club, Thompson-Ames Historical Society and Community Band.

Mary Cheseborough accepted the dedication on behalf of her late husband, who passed away in February.

Pomeroy and Miss New Hampshire Megan Lyman handed out prizes for the top parade float awards, including Laconia Ice Arena for the best vehicle with their Zamboni float. Street Car Company won best commercial float for their "Alice in Wonderland" float, and Lake Shore Park won best neighborhood float for their huge birthday cake float.

Judges chose Thompson-Ames Historical Society for the grand prize winners for their Gilford History float.

The Old Home Day Committee honored all founding families of Gilford for the 2012 Parade Grand Marshals. According to Committee members, the first recognized settlers of Gilford were James Ames and Capt. Samuel F. Gilman, and included the Hunts, Blaisdells, Beedes, Carrs, Collins, Evans, Hoyts, Jewetts, Morrils, Munseys, Potters, Follets, Sleepers, Sawyers and Weeks. Descendants of many of these families still call Gilford home.

Greene said he was very pleased with the turnout for the 2012 Old Home Day, and reported many positive comments from residents regarding the parade, bands and musical entertainment and , of course, the "spectacular" fireworks display.

"The turnout was excellent. It was the largest I've seen in seven summers," said Greene.

He thought that more people came out possibly because of the year-long Bicentennial celebration.

Greene thanked members of the Old Home Day Committee for volunteering their time throughout the year, especially in the spring and summer seasons, planning and organizing the celebration. He also thanked his fellow town department directors and employees for their help.

"Without their contribution, we would not have this quality event," said Greene.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
Garnett HIll
Varney Smith
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