Londonderry’s biggest event of the year has come and gone, but not without a myriad of memories. Londonderry’s 118th Old Home Day was a hit, despite the rain leading up to Saturday, August 19.
This year’s festivities began on Wednesday, August 16 with the annual Senior Barbecue. Like every year, the seniors enjoyed themselves and the event was well attended, starting the celebrations off on a high note. Unlike the two days following, the weather fully cooperated, allowing sunshine and a light breeze as the Londonderry Lion’s and multiple Old Home Day volunteers manned the grills.
Needless to say, no one went home hungry.
The following night was Kids’ Night, and though the crowd seemed smaller than most years, kids enjoyed themselves. The night was filled with many familiar events, including local dance groups and two special guests: vocalist Judy Pancoast and ventriloquist Dana Perkins. Though the tethered hot air Balloon rides sponsored by RE/ MAX started slightly behind schedule, kids still were able to face their fear of heights or celebrate their love of flying.
Unfortunately, for the first time in known Old Home Day history, the events and fireworks on Friday night were cancelled due to severe weather and torrential downpours. According to the Town Manager’s office, there is no makeup date for the fireworks.
Londonderry Fire Department Division Chief Brian Johnson said of the canceled fireworks, “The contracted fireworks company is responsible for designing the show and purchasing the fireworks. If the show is cancelled, we have it in our contract, so there is no cost to the town.”
Despite the Old Home Day soggy start, the parade was well attended, though the crowd at the town common wasn’t as big as in previous years. The common was damp and slick in some spots, but that didn’t deter townspeople from mingling and visiting all of the booths.
Saturday morning, the annual Baby Contest was held, and this year’s Little Miss and Little Master were crowned: Bentley Grace Kline will play the part of Little Miss in next year’s parade, and Ali Hamza Raza will play the Little Master. Other winners were Savannah Kehoe as Best Dressed, Tegan Palmer as Best Personality, and Julian Pescia as Best Smile.
Londonderry High School Principal Jason Parent beat out seven other contestants for the best kiss in the Kiss the Pig contest, the proceeds of which will benefit the Londonderry Lancer’s Marching Band’s upcoming fifth appearance at the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s Day 2018, as well as local area food banks. Band Director Andy Soucy came in second place, only 26 votes behind.
Another winner of the day was Alexi “Lulu” Calligandes, who took first place in the Londonderry Sings competition with her performance of “The House of the Rising Sun.”
The Trailways won in their own way, and were presented with two donations; one from Bosch for $5,000, which was presented by Senior Human Resources Administrator Richard Presher, and the other from five-year-old Grant Blecharzyk for $400 for phase four of the development plan. While the Blecharzyk family presented the check, it was Grant’s idea to collect money for the Trailways instead of getting gifts for his birthday.
The Morrison House held its normal events, including musket shooting and basket weaving.
The Lion’s Club always has a strong presence at Old Home Day, and this year they advertised a climbing wall. Unfortunately, the wall broke mid transit, according to a representative from Verani Bershire Hathaway.
Though the cancellation of Friday’s events was a disappointment, the people of Londonderry enjoyed themselves on Old Home Day. Now that it’s over and the cleanup has ensued, the Old Home Day Planning Committee will begin again, striving to make next year’s celebration another one to remember.