Rockingham continues 40-year tradition of Old Home Days

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BELLOWS FALLS >> Hundreds of community members made their way over to the Waypoint Center for food, live entertainment and good company for the 40th Old Home Days festival this past weekend.

For decades, this family and community-based event has offered fun activities, free to the public, including 25 to 30 vendors, contests, 5K race, children's activities and a round of fireworks to celebrate the weekend. The three-day festival is held the first weekend of August, a tradition dating to 1976 — the 200th anniversary of the year the Declaration of Independence was adopted.

"Each year keeps getting better, when this one isn't even done we have ideas for next year," said Great Falls Regional Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Deborah Carbin.

Carbin noted there were some additions to this year's festival, including an expansion in the parking lot across the street where Tiny Homes was set up on display along with some Native American drumming, a historical tour of Bellows Falls with a woman dressed all in black as Hetty Green. Green (Susan Kramer, of New Bedford, Mass., where Green was brought up) made the appearance from the grave for the 100th anniversary of her death.

"What's unfortunate, when Hetty died, she never left any monuments to herself, she didn't want to leave monuments to herself, she wanted the family fortune to go directly to her children," said Kramer. "History has forgotten who the most famous and rich woman in America was because her name is not in the common vernacular anymore, so I think it's important to remember her because she did it all on her own and she did it before women did anything like that."

According to Carbin, this is the biggest fundraiser for GFRCC that helps pay for its events throughout the year. Food vendors pay GFRCC to set up at the event and then funds raised from the ticket booth for the bouncy house and other games go toward the organization as well. Carbin said Old Home Days brought in about $6,500 last year for GFRCC and she says she believes the organization made above that amount this year. Carbin noted that each year they dream a little bigger.

"We would like to make it a full weekend event again next year, and next we're talking about maybe having a community dinner where we block off the square downtown on a Friday evening and have a big dance street party and one long table where people can come have dinner and enjoy the music."

Carbin adds she would also like to have a substantial flea market next year and GFRCC is always looking for volunteers for its events. Anyone interested in volunteering for next year's Old Home Days festival or other events, can contact Deborah Carbin at 802-463-4280.

Maddi Shaw can be reached at 802-254-2311 ext 275


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