Community celebrates another successful Old Home Day



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The Gilford Village gazebo decorated for the 92nd Old Home Day. (Jeff Ferland) (click for larger version)
August 31, 2011
Gilford residents celebrated their 92nd Annual Old Home Day Saturday, Aug. 27 with plenty of food, fun events and fireworks to end the summer season with a bang.

The Village filled with wandering residents checking out various craft and food booths set up in the field, then making their way to the historical society buildings and all the way up to the community church fried dough stand and dunking booth and the library's pie, ice cream and book sale.

The jungle safari theme encouraged groups to make some creative parade floats covered in green leaves and wild animals. The Best Float award went to the Streetcar Company, the Lakes Region's longest running community theater group, for their "Lion King"-themed float.

Also in the parade was the Salinitro family with their four oxen. According to Kathy Salinitro, she and her husband Ron have only missed two Old Home Day parades since 1982 due to bad weather.

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Runners take off from the start line for the Gunstock Nordic Association annual 5K road race, held this year at 8 a.m., instead of the afternoon. (Jeff Ferland) (click for larger version)
Salinitro was recently crowned Miss Senior NH, and will compete in the Miss Senior America pageant this fall. She did not wear her sash and gown for fear that her oxen would soil it as she led them in the parade. She found that the oxen would listen to her granddaughter's commands as long as Salinitro walked behind them; she concluded that she probably could have worn her sash to promote her new venture.

Members of the Old Home Day Committee chose the jungle safari theme in May. According to Herb Green, director of Parks and Recreation, the committee tries to pick diverse themes each year, and chose "Jungle Safari" because it was not similar to anything they had done in past years.

After the parade, Bob Pomeroy, the grand master of ceremonies, led the official opening ceremony with the singing of the National Anthem by Marlene Makowski as two members of the Lakes-Region Marine Detachment, Bob Pelland and Bob Patenaude, raised the flag at the Village gazebo.

New to Old Home Day this year were several inflatable bounce-houses at the Village Field for the kids to play in as parents browsed the nearby craft tables.

There was one major scheduling change to the event line-up this year. The Gunstock Nordic Association held their 34th Annual 5K Road Race at 8 a.m., instead of later in the afternoon. Racers, including Town Administrator Scott Dunn and School Superintendent Kent Hemingway, lined up in the cool morning air to race up Belknap Mountain Road and back through the Village.

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Bob Pelland and Bob Patenaude of the Lakes Region Marine Detachment raise the flag for the Old Home Day opening ceremony. (Jeff Ferland) (click for larger version)
With community events such as these come community fundraisers like the public library's annual two-day pie, ice cream and book sale.

"It pretty much funds our summer reading programs," said Library Director Katherine Dormody. "It's one of the biggest [fundraisers]. Saturday is usually the big day. We had a great day yesterday."

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The Streetcar Company’s “Lion King”-themed first place Old Home Day float. (Jeff Ferland) (click for larger version)
Dormody said they are usually able to raise about $2,000 from the event, and she hopes the trend continues so they can continue to fund their outstanding summer reading program.

Pies and many books were donated by the Friends of the Gilford Public Library.

The Gilford Firefighter Relief Association held one of their annual sausage sub sale fundraisers. Their booth at the village field was surrounded by hungry residents waiting to try what some claimed were the best sausage subs in town. Funds raised would go to the relief of firefighters and their families.

"We try to support the community, as well," said Rae Mello-Andrews, association treasurer. "We started preparing about two weeks ago."

According to Mello-Andrews, the association has put on this fundraiser for about 20 years, and in addition to their relief efforts, they also put some of the funds toward their youth baseball team.

Due to the fear of inclement weather, the fireworks were held a half-hour earlier than scheduled. Green said they would host the fireworks show on Saturday because the rain date was the next night; during the forecast tropical storm.

According to Ethie Ritson, a 27-year member of the Old Home Day Committee, they planed the clean-up of the event for the next day, as usual. She was glade the weather held out for the event and was happy to see a large crowd at the Village Field.

"As long as we have a good theme, it grows," said Ritson.

Gilford residents seemed to agree, refusing to let the threatening storm creeping up the East Coast ruin their Old Home Day celebration.

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