Something for Everyone at This Week’s 117th Old Home Day

The mostly-outdoors Londonderry Old Home Day festival is here, with events scheduled now through Sunday, Aug. 17-21.

The week began with Senior Night Wednesday, Aug. 17, featuring a cookout at the Lions Club and a concert on the Town Common by the Windham Swing Band.

Kidz Night is Thursday, Aug. 18 and includes face painting, bounce houses, Roaming Raceway and Railroad, Bektash Clowns, ALERT (A Londonderry Emergency Response Team), military vehicles, booths from local children’s organizations and businesses, costumed characters, Knights of Columbus popcorn, and Lions hamburgers and hot dogs. After the kiddies are put to bed, a movie for middle-schoolers and up, “Inside Out,” will be shown on the Town Common at 8:45 p.m. at the sixth Movie Mania event. Rain location is the Londonderry High School gym.

A concert with the band The Voice will be held on Friday, Aug. 19, beginning at 7:15 p.m. on the front lawn of the high school, with pie eating and bubble-gum blowing contests held concurrently. The fireworks are scheduled to go off at 8:45 p.m.

Rain location for the concert is the high school cafeteria. There is no rain date for the fireworks. The Londonderry Friends of Music will sell pizza and beverages.

The annual Police and Fire softball game is also Friday night, Aug. 19 and food will be sold by the Lions to benefit their Camp Pride.

Saturday, Aug. 20 events include a continental breakfast, family bingo in the Matthew Thornton Elementary School gym from 3 to 4 p.m., the annual Baby Contest (registration required), a military encampment at the Morrison House Museum, a Grange flower sale and Eagle Scout bake sale, a Lions food tent and beer tent, the Applestock concert with local bands and the Londonderry Sings! Idol-type contest. Children’s games will be offered on the Town Common all day by the YMCA of Greater Londonderry. In addition, the Lundgren 5-K Road Race will be held.

Saturday is also the date of the parade, which steps off at 10:30 a.m. Old Home Day Committee chair Kathy Wagner said at least five bands are signed up, including the award-winning Londonderry Lancers; horses and antique cars; floats; and “90 percent of the kids in Londonderry” marching with their troops, teams, clubs or churches.

The Morrison House Museum will be the site of several events sponsored by the Londonderry Historical Society on Saturday, including a Revolutionary War encampment by Capt. Welsh’s Company. There will be cannon salutes, children’s military drills, cooking demonstrations, fur trading and musket-ball molding. In addition, there will be building tours, demonstrations of blacksmithing, spinning and weaving, cornhusk doll making, children’s Colonial games, music, a May Pole, farmers’ market and artisan craft fair. The Historical Society will offer a barbecue with chicken, ribs and pork.

The events of Sunday, Aug. 21 include a community worship service and family picnic on the Town Common. Reservations are requested for the picnic. Events are from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

This year is the 117th Old Home Day for the town, and Wagner’s 16th as chair. The theme this year is “Apple-y Ever After,” chosen by Lindsay Ball’s fourth-grade class at Matthew Thornton Elementary School.

And it is coming together well, Wagner said. Her committee ranges from 10 to 20 people, “depending on who shows up.” But each has a role, and after so many years, it almost runs itself.

“Everyone is comfortable – they’ve been in their positions for a while,” Wagner said of her 15 core people

Over the years, Londonderry has learned what works, and most of the events are traditions. But Wagner pointed to a couple of new things this year. Taking a leaf from nearby Chester, the Londonderry Grange will be selling “scarecrow kits” on Saturday and encouraging residents to put them together (see story in Old Home Day Guide). The individualized scarecrows will be brought out and displayed on the Common in October, she said.

The North School PTA (Parent Teacher Association) has launched a Touch-A-Truck event and will hold it at Moose Hill School, Wagner said.

Though she’s been refining this for years and working on it for months, it all comes together for Wagner, and the community, when the banner goes up at the Common. “Then everything changes – it’s on people’s minds,” she said.

For detailed information, turn to the Old Home Day guide in today’s edition of the Londonderry Times, or visit