Old Home Days to feature blast from the past


ROCKINGHAM -- Rockingham Old Home Days will once again be marked with the fictionalized accounts of people important to the town’s past.

The event is slated for Aug. 2 and a stage reading of the Rockingham Anthology is scheduled to add a dash of yesteryear to the annual pilgrimage to the Rockingham Meeting House, the occasion’s final event at 1 p.m. Written and produced in 2003 as part of the many events held to celebrate the town’s 250th birthday, the anthology features contributions from Richard Ewald, John Leppman, William Lockwood, Ray Massucco, Catherine Bergmann, Christopher Lillie and Louise Luring.

Director Sam Maskell said the "characters" will read accounts of their lives, what Rockingham meant to them and how their lives were shaped by it. She said most of the people brought to life in the play were real (such as Hetty Green), though some were dreamed up and developed to fit the personalities of residents who would have lived in the early years of the town. This is the first year the anthology will be shortened and revised.

Haskell said she was asked to be the director because of her experience as a co-chair at the now-defunct Front Porch Theater Company in Rockingham.

"It’s a nice little project and a way to do something cool for our community," she said.

The sketches this year will include some new ones in honor of those who have died since the original performance. The anthology was inspired by Edgar Lee Masters’ "Spoon River Anthology," a collection of short poems that narrate the epitaphs of the departed residents of fictional town called Spoon River.

Dorothy Read, who is on the Rockingham Meeting House Association’s board of directors, told the Reformer the pilgrimage has been held every year since 1907 and it is always centered around a program of historical significance at the meeting house.

"It should be a really good performance and we’re excited to put it on again, even in its abbreviated version," she said of the Rockingham Anthology.

Read said people come from all across the country to return to Rockingham and some of the guests even include descendants of the town’s original settlers. She said the program typically starts at 3 p.m., but the meeting house association decided to make it earlier this year.

According to the Great Falls Regional Chamber of Commerce, Rockingham Old Homes Days will also consist of a 5K run, local food vendors, music throughout the day, street performers, wine and cheese tasting, bounce houses and a pizza-eating contest.

Train rides at Old Home Days include round-trip train rides that go from Bellows Falls to Chester and vice versa. One train leaves the Bellows Falls station at 3:30 p.m. and returns by 6 p.m., while another departs at 6:30 p.m. and gets back by 9 p.m. One train takes off from Chester at 5 p.m. and arrives in the village an hour later so people can stay for Old Home Days event and return on either the 6:30 or 10:30 train. Another train leaves Chester at 8 p.m. and gets to Bellows Falls at 9 before returning to Chester at 10:30.

Tickets are $22 for children and $26 for adults. They can be purchased at Village Square Booksellers in Bellows Falls.

Call 802-376-9534 or send an e-mail to sales@northeastbyrail.com with any questions.

Domenic Poli can be reached at dpoli@reformer.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.


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