The Hippo


Oct 15, 2019








The roaming tortoise will be rushing back to Derry to attend this year’s Derryfest. Courtesy photo.

Hometown celebrations 

Hollis Old Home Days
Where: Nichols Field, 28 Depot Road, Hollis
When: Friday, Sept. 12, and Saturday, Sept. 13.
Pelham Old Home Day
Where: The First Congregational Church, 3 Main St., Pelham.
When: Saturday, Sept. 13.
Call: 635-7025
Where: MacGregor Park, 64 E. Broadway, Derry
When: Saturday, Sept. 20, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Call: 437-8232
Bedford Old Towne Day
Where: Riley Field Complex, Bedford
When: Saturday, Sept. 20, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Call: 472-5242
Hooksett Old Home Day
Where: Donati Park, 35 Main St., Hooksett
When: Saturday, Sept. 20, from 10 a.m. to dusk
Call: 785-6639

Hometown tradition
Amusement rides, petting zoos and The Beatles at local Old Home Days


This time of year always has that homecoming season feel, making it a fitting time of year for several upcoming town-centric events, including Old Home Days in Hollis, Pelham and Hooksett, Old Towne Day in Bedford and Derryfest.
“It’s just a celebration of the community,” said Laurie Miller, a co-chairman with the Old Home Days Committee in Hollis. “It’s a wonderful tradition. It’s nice to be able to go back to the same thing year after year.”
Miller said the committee is hosting a series of activities that have become synonymous with the Hollis Old Home Days, including amusement rides, equestrian demonstrations, a parade, fireworks, a petting zoo, pony rides and balloon rides. 
Food is also key at the Hollis event, which is happening Friday, Sept. 12, and Saturday, Sept. 13. Miller said one of the biggest traditions that most residents, and specifically her children, look forward to is a booth run by the Boy Scouts where they sell sausages with peppers and onions to raise funds for their troop. Other food-related events include a chicken barbecue and an apple pie contest.
Carrie Hyde, committee chairperson for the Hooksett Old Home Days, said that not only do these kinds of events lend themselves perfectly to a small-town atmosphere, but they are free of charge to attend, generating even more of an appeal for families.
“I’m a mom, I’ve got six kids,” she said. “Watching the kids take part in all the fun is very rewarding, and, I believe, going to [events] that are free helps bring together families and a larger part of the community.”
The Hooksett Old Home Day, which is taking place on Saturday, Sept. 20, will be hosting helicopter rides courtesy of CR Helicopters that will take participants into the air overlooking the city for about five minutes. The event will also feature stage entertainment, including magician BJ Hickman, local doo-wop group The Bel-Airs, and a Beatles tribute band called Studio Two.
Though the name of its event is slightly different, Mike Gendron, the co-chairperson of the Derryfest committee, said Derry hosts its event with similar intentions.
“We’ve been hosting the event for 25 years now, and it’s been a success every year,” Gendron said. “People come out of the woodwork to come out to Derryfest. There aren’t too many opportunities to get out and meet your neighbors. It’s a light-hearted and enjoyable event.”
For its 25th birthday, Derryfest will celebrate with a huge cake around noon on Saturday, Sept. 20. The night before Derryfest, on Friday, Sept. 19, there will be a spaghetti supper from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., followed by a pancake breakfast the next morning from 7 to 10 a.m.
The final round of “Greater Derry’s Got Talent” will also be held on Friday, Sept. 19. Gendron said the event will feature the top three finalists chosen from last week’s preliminary round, who will be performing for the audience. The audience will be able to vote for the winner.
Other events happening at Derryfest include a performance by the World Champion Derry Red Star Twirlers, a professional jester named Alexander, and their own Beatles tribute band Beatlejuice. The event will also feature a mini zoo with several exotic animals including a roaming tortoise, which will be roaming around the park all day.
Miller said these kinds of events serve as proper traditions for families and for those who have moved away and want to come back to celebrate their hometown. She said they have served as a popular meeting spot for impromptu high school reunions.
“We have a chicken barbecue every year that attracts a lot of our senior citizens, some who are over 90 years old,” she said. “We’ve got one person on the committee who is in her 70s who calls the over-90 people to make sure that if they can’t come to the dinner, they can get someone to deliver it to them.”
Miller said the desire for Hollis residents to uphold tradition is evident in a simple sign that goes up each year to say when Old Home Day is.
“We have this old black and white sign in front of what was originally the high school, which now is being mothballed,” she said. “People are adamant that we do not change the sign. We can update the date, but we don’t need bigger and better. We’ve got what we’ve got.” 

®2019 Hippo Press. site by wedu