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Sun smiles upon Gilford Old Home Day

About 50 volunteers devoted last weekend to the Friend’s of the Library’s annual book sale and homemade pie and ice cream tents. Lauren Tiner. (click for larger version)
September 01, 2010
Hundreds of families filled the streets of Gilford for the 91st annual Old Home Day, celebrating the theme "Harvest Fest" to honor the history of the town and its ties to agriculture.

It seemed as though twice the amount of onlookers and participants turned out for a day filled with fun festivities for kids and adults alike, live music, local vendors, and fair grub including cotton candy, fried dough, homemade fries, and fresh lemonade.

Parade floats and kids games also stayed true to the theme this year with an array of tractor trailers filled with hay and veggies, a kiddy tractor pull, an adult pumpkin toss, and a fireworks display finale to conclude the perfect family day.

The weather also happened to be perfect last Saturday, putting smiles on the faces of Parks and Recreation Department staff members and dedicated Old Home Day Committee volunteers who endured 2008 festivities in sweltering 90 degree weather and 2009 events in the cold, pouring rain.

"We are expecting lots of people in this perfect weather. This will be one of our best years yet," said veteran committee member Charlene Pelland.

A record amount of 60 parade entries and dozens of vendors and craftsmen stood on the grounds of the village field.

Pelland said the committee was also pleased with turnouts in the parade including Miss Winnipesaukee and Miss New Hampshire, military veterans, and marines.

"The owners of Beans and Greens Andrew and Martina Howe are our Grand Marshals this year, and every year we choose a great theme," said Pelland, who noted that the Howes fit in well with the harvest theme.

Various town departments and local businesses always make it a point to volunteer and participate in a weekend filled with endless activities, fairs, and games and often start the day on decked out parade floats waving to the crowd.

"The community really comes together and works hard every year," Pelland said.

During the day's events, the library hosted the Friends of the Library book sale along with homemade pie and ice cream, the Gilford Community Church hosted their Summer Fair equipped with dunk tanks, a silent auction, and the 26th annual Rotary Pancake Breakfast. The Thompson-Ames Historical Society hosted tours of the historical Mt. Belknap Grange, where a blueberry bake sale was held, and the 1834 Union Meetinghouse and the Benjamin Rowe House.

Most Gilford residents and locals make it a point to attend Gilford's Old Home Day, yet families from out of town continue to come back year after year as well, said Pelland.

"People come from other areas and even come down for the whole weekend. Some people are just taken by the community; we have one man (from out of town) who donates money every year. His family loves it," said Pelland.

"Harvest Fest" activities and games inspired by the theme this year were especially popular, although the tried and true games will always remain the favorites.

The crew purchased about 120 eggs this year for the youth and adult egg toss, estimating at least 100 people would step up to the plate and potentially get splattered by raw yokes and egg whites.

Endless blueberry pies were also purchased for the messy pie eating contest this year, yet sometimes the number of participants almost surpasses the amount of pies.

Local entertainers also performed, including Edgewater Academy of Dance, Paul Warnick and Friends, the Eric Grant Band, and the Gilford Community Band. Fireworks to celebrate a successful 2010 Old Home Day ended the day.

Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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