OLD HOME DAY
[img_assist|nid=413|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=168|height=250]by Susanne Washburn
Photgraphy by Hubert Schriebl
Who doesn’t love a Vermont parade? Drums and horns and stand-out costumes, imaginative floats and siren-winding fire trucks, bagpipers in kilts, Shriners driving tractors, the American Legion sporting flags, kids on decorated trikes, pounds of candy tossed out in fistfuls. And every year a different theme.
For Rupert Old Home Day last summer, it was-counter-intuitively-Christmas in August. Signs on the sides of a float carrying a bearded Santa in swim trunks seated in a beach chair under a sun umbrella proclaimed, "Closed ‘Til December 25th." On board too: a number of other North Pole denizens dressed for a dip. Rolling the route also was a 10-foot-tall snowball propelled by someone labeled "Old Lady Winter"-with the look and air of a petite polar bear. One girl paraded on skis (on wheels). Another young winter sportsman did his snowboard act (via skateboard) on a broad, steep, snow-capped mountain slide pitched from the back of a truck. To be sure, an Arctic Cat ATV was on the scene, pulling another chilly-temp-time float. The Vermont parade season starts in earnest with the commemorative events of Memorial Day and moves on to celebrate the nation’s independence on the Fourth of July. But the high point of midsummer is the recurrence of Old Home Day all around New England.
The first of these town-specific fêtes took place in 1879 in Hancock, New Hampshire. Twenty years later, the governor himself, Frank West Rollins, launched Old Home Week. His goal: to lure back former residents who’d left the Granite State for greener pastures-that is, stone-less Midwest places or beckoning urban spaces. Invitations were sent across the country urging everybody who’d gone away to come home and see what they’d missed in the meantime. Rollins, whose state was going through tough economic times, was aggressively promoting a much-needed "return to the land," by which he meant ex-residents buying up old farms as summer homes. ….
Powered by Facebook Comments