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Campton Old Home Day is back – big time!

Old Home Day returns to Campton as the town held its first major celebration in 42 years this past Saturday. Marcia Morris. (click for larger version)
August 13, 2009
CAMPTON — After a 42 year hiatus, Old Home Day returned to Campton this past Saturday with a daylong celebration starting with a 5K race at 8:30 a.m. and not ending until late in the evening hours at a gala dinner dance held at the Waterville Estates Community Center.

Hats off to the Campton Old Home Day organizing committee that has worked diligently for well over a year to plan the events of the day. It was obviously a labor of love for the 20 or so members of the committee who met almost weekly to resurrect the true spirit of Old Home Day in Campton.

If Becky Avery Noseworthy is any indication, they succeeded in a very big way. Becky traveled from her new home in Lincoln to return to her old hometown of Campton for the day's festivities. She and her sister Marlene participated in the parade, assembling a float that was intended to pay homage to the wonderful childhood they enjoyed growing up on Owl Street in Campton. The float featured a replica of their family home and cardboard cutout figures representing all the members of their family –mom and dad, sisters Fern, Marlene, Judy and Becky, and brother Paul, a lifelong resident of Campton who died this past year of cancer, making the day all the more poignant for family members.

"I loved growing up on Owl Street," said Noseworthy. "We had a huge garden. We had animals – pigs, chickens and rabbits. It was a great life and will never be forgotten."

Kevin Hamilton and Town Clerk Hannah Joyce served as the ringleaders of the Old Home Day initiative. "More like ringmasters," joked Hamilton, in the middle of the busy day's proceedings which brought all manner of species to the events, including horses, dogs, even some local sheep marching in the parade. The "good spirit" award has to go to Sally Mouton who volunteered to serve as the "Scoop Queen" for the day… and that doesn't refer to ice cream.

There was an excellent turnout for the 5K race that kicked off the day's events with over 75 participants (See Page B1 for more info). The parade attracted the participation of many local community groups and business people, whose creativity and talent were on display in the form of some of the most ambitious and imaginative floats. Joyce said that that she was extremely pleased with the result. "I am just thrilled for my community. It goes to show how the friends, family and residents of Campton came out to support their community for this one day event," she said.

Joyce's husband Kevin with their children Kevin and Kyle, really went all out for the parade too, creating a "signature" float that featured a replica of the iconic Blair Bridge over the Pemigewasset, complete with the well known sign, warning of the "five dollar fine for riding or driving over the bridge at faster than a walk."

Not to be outdone, Ann Marie Keeney and her family from Work Wear of Central New Hampshire on Vintinner Road marched in the parade with a ten foot replica of a rotten boot, made out of Plywood, chicken wire, tarp and gigantic shoelaces. No, it had nothing to do with Mother Hubbard. Work Wear in Campton is the home of the Rotten Boot Contest, which will take place again this year on September 26, with the winner to receive a brand new, and obviously badly needed, new pair of Redwing boots!

"I am so happy to see Old Home Day resurrected," said Keeney. "This is an awesome community event. Not to be too mushy, but I love living and working in Campton. I really appreciate how much the locals support my business. I look forward to this celebration only continuing to get bigger and better every year from here on in."

After the parade, community members were treated to a full-fledged carnival in the playground on the grounds of the Campton Elementary School, with pony rides, crafters from all over the local region, hamburgers and hot dogs, and pizza from Chesley's.

Setting the tone for the festivities was Ed O'Brien and his extraordinarily beautiful "Three Roses" carousel organ, imported from the Netherlands, cranking out tunes from the Sound of Music and Oklahoma, among others.

Afterward, revelers could visit the Campton Historical Society and enjoy a free ice cream social, with homemade hot fudge, while they browsed the large and impressive collection of historical artifacts and Campton memorabilia on display. The truly daring could try their hand at learning to spin wool on Charlie's Martel's great grandmother's spinning wheel, or test their knowledge of colonial history by trying to identify antique tools like a sole chamfer for boots and shoes, a cork borer sharpener or even a billiard cue tip fastener. (Your correspondent got a grade of about a D on that one!)

Julie Quesnel conducted two informative 45-minute bus tours of Campton neighborhoods, complete with narration about the rich history of Campton over the years.

The weather could not have been more beautiful throughout the day. It is as if the brilliance of a clear sunny summer day had been just waiting to make an appearance as a vote of confidence for the Town of Campton, its dedicated community organizers and the beginning of what many hope to be a successful annual community event.

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