Fun under the sun


Barnstead Old Home Day celebration marks 100 years of fire protection


August 25, 2009
BARNSTEAD — The organizers of Barnstead's annual Old Home Day celebration have a full day of fun in the sun in store for local residents this weekend in honor of the town's firefighters.

This year's festivities, celebrating 100 years of fire protection services in Barnstead, are set to begin, as always, at 7:30 a.m. Saturday morning (Aug. 29), when runners from near and far are invited to register for the 11th annual 5K road race.

From the starting line at Parade Circle, runners will test their abilities along a flat but fast course stretching from the Parade Grounds down Parade Road to Route 126 and back.

To help prepare for the race, which begins at 9 a.m., and start the day off on a full stomach, runners are once again invited to an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast hosted by Barnstead Fire-Rescue under the tent at the Parade Grounds from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

A ticket to the breakfast includes a selection of plain and blueberry pancakes, maple syrup, sausage and bacon, and orange juice or coffee.

For younger athletes who might find the 5K road race a little hard to handle, a Kids Fun Run will be held in front of the bandstand on the Parade Grounds at 10 a.m. No registration is required for this event.

Youngsters more inclined to test their wits than stretch their legs will find a wide variety of games on the Parade Grounds beginning at 10 a.m., including ring, bean bag, and penny tosses; a putting green; a duck pond; a fishing game; and a jailhouse that prisoners will have to sing their way out of.

Auctioneer Russ Abbott will be on hand starting at 10 a.m. to emcee the Old Home Day auction.

With an impressive list of items, including maple sugar made in Barnstead; locally embroidered sweatshirts and t-shirts; hand-made pottery; gift certificates to local Christmas tree farms, grocery stories, restaurants, pizza parlors, a Reiki training workshop, and advertisements in local newspapers and telephone directories; a screened gazebo; a truckload of screened loam; a hand-made Autumn table runner; a certificate for local tax preparation services; auto inspection services from local mechanics; tickets to the OSG Paintball course; septic services; specialty gift baskets; books; and quality craft items, this year's program (which serves as the Old Home Day Committee's primary fundraiser) is sure to draw a large crowd to the auction tent.

The fire department will be hosting an open house at its Parade Road station beginning at 10 a.m., during which children will be able to view equipment, learn how to react to a house fire in the Smokehouse safety trailer, and browse through exhibits on the history of Barnstead's fire service.

The department's official centennial banner, designed by Prospect Mountain High School student Nick Bugieda, will also be on display.

From 10:30 a.m. to noon, local youngsters are invited to join in a fireman's muster, a competition based on firefighting skills, including a bucket brigade; a race against the clock to don protective gear and assemble hoses; knocking balls off cones with a stream of water; and a hose lay.

The entries in this year's Art, Photo and Coloring contest will also be on display beginning at 10:30 a.m.

One of Old Home Day's most popular events, the cake walk, is set to begin at 11 a.m., with contestants moving around a circle of numbered Frisbees until the music stops and a number is drawn.

The lucky winner whose Frisbee matches the number will then have his or her pick of any of the delectable baked goods displayed on the table near the bandstand.

The costumed contestants in the kids' bike parade will line up next to the Congregational Church at noon for their procession through the Parade Grounds. This year's entries will be judged on three factors — decorations consistent with the "100 Years of Fire Service" theme, patriotic decorations, and "most creative" decorations.

Back by popular demand, the rock climbing wall, which captured the attention of adventurous souls last year, will return to the Parade Grounds from noon to 3 p.m.

Registration also begins at noon for the annual Suncook River Canoe and Kayak Race, during which contestants will navigate a 2.25-mile course from the launch area on the Big River (behind the police station) downstream to the finish, just beyond the Parade dam.

Racing categories include tandem and solo canoe, and tandem and solo kayak.

All racers who register by the deadline of 1:45 p.m. will receive a commemorative t-shirt. The race itself begins at 2 p.m.

Awards will be given to the first-, second-, and third-place male and female finishers in the solo categories, as well as the top male, female, coed, and senior pairs in the tandem categories.

At 1 p.m., Old Home Day Committee members will announce the recipient of the 2010 Citizen of the Year Award, while the Woods at Beauty Hill will provide a disc golf demonstration and offer spectators a chance to try their hand at the sport.

The winner of this year's Blueberry Baking Contest will be announced at 2 p.m., with the entries (which have included everything from cheesecakes to pies in the past) available for judging starting at 1 p.m.

Throughout the afternoon, community organizations will offer a wide variety of prepared foods to hungry visitors, including hot dogs, hamburgers, sausage subs, chicken fingers, french fries, blueberry cake, cotton candy, and refreshing lemonade.

Popular children's entertainer Wayne from Maine will return to the auction tent at 2 p.m. with stories and songs to captivate the young and old alike.

One of the new additions to this year's festivities will be a basketball throwing contest set to begin at 3 p.m., giving kids of all ages a chance to show off their courtside skills and compete for prizes.

At 4 p.m., all eyes will turn to the tent for the annual Youth Variety Show, where gifted children and teens will grab the spotlight with singing, dancing, juggling, and other hidden talents, followed by another returning favorite — karaoke.

The Suncook Valley Sno-Riders are aiming to satisfy the hearty appetites of Old Home Day goers with a barbeque chicken dinner at the Parade Road fire station from 4 to 6:30 p.m.

In addition to half a barbequed chicken, diners will be treated to Flanders Beanhole baked beans, salad, rolls, beverages, and a dessert.

Advance tickets for the dinner can be purchased through Arnie's Auto Repair (269-4730) or the Route 28 Bakery and Dairy Bar (435-8081).

The East Bay Jazz Ensemble will take to the bandstand for the last of this year's summer concerts following dinner at 6:30 p.m., providing an evening of traditional jazz and swing music leading up to the fireworks display, which will begin just after nightfall.

Brendan Berube can be reached at 569-3126 or bberube@salmonpress.com

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