Old Home Day committee forms

HANCOCK — A tradition that’s more than 120 years old will continue on Aug. 17, when the town will once again celebrate Old Home Day with a parade, chicken barbecue, children’s games, 5K road race and the popular Synchro Sisters putting on a show at the town beach on Norway Pond.

While the annual event was never in danger of being cancelled, according to Select Board member John Jordan, town officials were concerned that no one had volunteered to serve on the official Old Home Day committee that coordinates the event. So they called for a meeting on Monday, and in a half an hour, a new organizing committee had been formed, as most everyone agreed the tradition must go on.

Siobhan Martin suggested that since so many individuals and groups essentially run their own activities during Old Home Day, it shouldn’t be difficult for a small committee to be involved in coordination.

“My intention is to have a standing committee to get the ball rolling,” she said. “They wouldn’t have to be responsible for all the organizing.”

“A standing committee is a great idea,” said John Hayes. “You could have the same people in place year after year.”

Jordan suggested having a three-person committee, with staggered three-year terms. Hayes volunteered to take a one-year term and Martin signed up for a two-year slot.

Several people noted that most events are organized and run by volunteers, many of whom have been doing their favorite tasks for years.

“A lot of the events are pretty much self-contained,” said Ginger Smith, one of the organizers of the 5K road race. “We’re all set to go on the race.”

Fire Chief Nevan Cassidy, who with other firefighters puts on a chicken barbecue fundraiser on Old Home Days recalled how the Fire Department had at one time been responsible for Hancock’s annual Fourth of July fireworks. But that event became too much work, he said, and the town eventually hired Atlas Fireworks to run the show, which worked out well. He said if Old Home Day was becoming too much work, the town might want to drop it.

“You could just pull the plug on it and see what happens,” Cassidy said.

That suggestion drew little support from others at the meeting.

Several people volunteered to help organize specific events. Lexi Heatley said her husband, Neal Cass, would coordinate the parade. Hayes said his wife, Deb Porter-Hayes, would arrange for a band to play on Saturday night. (Both Heatley and Hayes emphasized that their spouses had given the OK for those commitments.) Others agreed to help organize the Friday night talent show at the Congregational Church and the Tradesmen’s Alley in the horse sheds behind the church.

The group also came up with a theme — the 100th anniversary of Hancock High School.

On Tuesday, Hayes said Cindy Hixson had agreed to serve as the third member of the new Old Home Day committee.

“We’ll be meeting on Wednesday to start putting it all together,” Hayes said. “We’re all heading in the right direction. We’ll be able to round up the people. All it takes is a phone call to ask, ‘Are you guys going to do it this year?’ A lot is already in place.”

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