Tradition fuels fun times in New Hampton



NEWHAMPTON1
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Balloon Magician Mr. Phil provides a gift to a youngster during New Hampton Old Home Day, held Saturday at the Old Town House. Matt Perloff. (click for larger version)
August 13, 2009
NEW HAMPTON — In an age where celebrations have often grown and in their extravagance, it's the focus on simple pleasures that can make an event truly special.

In New Hampton, tradition continues to ring true as the town celebrated its 111th Old Home Day this past Saturday, hosting a day and evening of events that continue to preserve community spirit

Following opening ceremonies, attendees were treated to a variety of activities. Kids could take pony rides or up on the stage inside the Town House, where Linda Morgan entertained both children and parents with stories and crafts. Mr. Phil stop by later in the morning to treat kids with his balloon magic, leaving many young visitors with one of his special creations.

The adults had no shortage of sights and sounds, either. The New Hampton Garden Club was on hand for a plant sale and providing special gardening tips, or attendees could take in special exhibits indoors, including Russian Matrushka Dolls and photo albums from previous Old Home Day celebrations.

Outdoors, vintage vehicles lined the driveway across from the Town House as the Antique and Classic Car Show provided several vintage vehicles to view. In the end, attendees chose the 1930 Ford Roadster, owned and revitalized by Ernie Hutter of Ashland.

Also keeping with tradition was the sweet sounds of the Swift River Jazz Band, a welcome fixture at Old Home Day. The sextet's classic tunes livened things up as midday approached, officially kicking the celebration into full gear.

No Old Home Day in New Hampton, however, is complete without the Baked Bean Lunch. Attendees gathered to try out the many styles of baked beans brought to the table, as well as a selection of delicious sides. The New Hampton Police Association was also on hand to compliment the beans with hot dogs, hamburgers and soda, providing a full meal for all to enjoy.

Kids that still had room for dessert put their stomachs to the test with a pie-eating contest following lunch. A brave trio of youngster dove in for the competition, with Ben Hughes downing his pastry for the victory.

The afternoon concluded with a special presentation by Kevin Gardner titled "Discovering New England Stone Walls". Gardner provided a history of how the many miles of stone walls came to be in New England, how they built and evolved over time, and field questions from the audience, all the while constructing his own little stone wall much to the fascination of those attending.

It was a quiet rest of the afternoon, but the Town House came to life again that evening as dozens turned out square dancing. With Lester Bradley and the Blake Mountain Country Band leading the way, Both the young and young at heart poured onto the floor for the traditional dance, a community event through and through as everyone, friend or stranger, took hands and danced the night away.

Though Old Home Day has concluded for another year, there are still opportunities to get out and help the community this summer. On Friday, Aug. 14, there will be an American Red Cross Blood Drive, 11-5 p.m. at the New Hampton Fire Department on Route 104 (across from the Route 132 South junction). All donors will receive a coupon for a free carton of Friendly's Ice Cream! For more information, call 1-800-262-2660.

Also coming up is Judge Nash Day, a special afternoon of live music at the Gordon-Nash Library on Sunday, Aug. 16 beginning at 3 p.m. Kathleen Smith and Martha Shepp, faculty members at New Hampton School, will be performing classic piano and vocal pieces, and attendees will get a chance to look at some of the library's tidbits and treasures as they show appreciation for the library's benefactor, who left over 6,000 books and seed money to fund what is now the only private free library in New Hampshire. For more information on the event, call 744-8061 or visit gordon-nash.org.

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