The History of Old Home Day Celebrations in Weare, NH
Until reinstituted in August 2006 on a yearly basis, Old Home Day celebrations in Weare were few. All have taken place at Weare Center, the hub of the town's five major villages where the town office, library, town hall, historical museum, gazebo, and present and past school buildings are located.*
The first Old Home Day did not take place until August 29, 1900. During the last half of the 19th century the town's population had dwindled. The combined effect of the first textile mill in Manchester (1810), the building of the Amoskeag Dam (1837), and the coming of the railroad to town (1850), which brought everything from grain to textiles, was a movement of families toward easier farming in the west and individuals to cities to work in large mills powered by vast sources of water power.
The first Old Home Day in 1900 turned out to be a very special day. People packed a seven-car train that ran from Manchester to Weare for the sole purpose of "going home." Featured that day were a morning parade, a basket lunch, and other activities, including music by Weare's own Cornet Band and Derry's orchestra of Hopkinton.
The second Old Home Day was celebrated in 1901 with over 1200 people in attendance. The morning parade included an old stagecoach, hayracks, decorated bicycles, and "funny men," along with the usual assortment of animals. Again, there was a basket lunch and the Cornet Band played under the leadership of Loren Clement (his namesake and great great grandson is Weare Historical Society's current vice president).
Thirty-three years later, in 1934, the third Old Home Day was held. The usual festivities took place with music provided by the Weare Band. A ball game and an evening dance were added to the day's entertainment.
The predominant parade entry of the fourth Old Home Day, held in August 1948, was a number of decorated automobiles, which included a 1911 Model 1 Ford, open-passenger car owned by the South Weare Garage, the first Ford dealership in New Hampshire; this dealership was chartered by Henry Ford himself, who visited Weare on more than one occasion. The state's representative to Congress, Norris Cotton, was the principal speaker. A Mrs. William Lafond was honored at the parade as the mother of five sons currently serving their country in the armed forces.
In the twenty-first century, interest in reviving the Old Home Day tradition was ignited when the Episcopal Church held a Family Fun Day at Weare Center. They filled the school side of East Street with tons of crafts and games for kids and adults and topped it off with a chicken barbeque at the Weare Town Hall. Weare Historical Society joined in and held an open house at the Stone Memorial Building museum along with, one year, Berdan's Sharpshooters, a Civil War re-enactment that included camping and marching down East Street to the cemetery where two of the original Weare sharpshooters are buried.
By 2005, it was decided to have a Family Fun Day with an Old Home Day theme. In 2006, the last Saturday of August was designated as Old Home Day. Weare Historical Society began to enlist other organizations and serve as host of the event. The Friends of the Library, Lions Club, American Legion Post #65, South Weare Improvement Society, the Farmers Market, Weare School Board, Safe Routes to School Task Force, the Village Chapel Baptist Church were among the early groups. Since then the Weare High School reunion for graduates 50+ years ago moved their gathering to Old Home Day and now congregate at the new Middle School in Weare Center.
Highlights of the events over these past years, besides all of the artisans who have explained their process and displayed their work, include honoring WWII veterans who sat in the rotunda of the Stone Memorial Building to discuss their service, a book signing for Weare Historical Society's history of the village schools, Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln re-enactors who provided a glimpse of history in the making, the Civil War's Berdan's Sharpshooters who twice came to set up camp for the weekend on the Stone Building lawn and march down East Street on Sunday, and children participating in old fashioned games. In 2008, the Back Porch Group broadcast their old-time music from the gazebo. In 2009, three bands will provide daylong entertainment.
The History of Old Home Day Celebrations in Weare, NH
A LABOR DAY TRADITION SINCE 1915
The Hopkinton State Fair was originally started as a two-day agricultural event by the Contoocook Board of Trade, which held the first fair on October 5 and 6, 1915, at George’s Park in Contoocook village. The event was named the “Hopkinton Fair” or the “Contoocook Valley Fair”. The net profit for the first fair was just under $5. In 1921, the board expanded the fair to a three-day event from Tuesday through Thursday.
The fair consisted of agricultural exhibits, food vendors, baseball games, horse races, games, amusement rides and sideshow tents. Other entertainment such as the Hopkinton Town Band concerts became quite popular over the years. Ribbon and monetary prize competitions were popular exhibits for livestock and other farm animals.
After enduring tremendous growth, in 1947 the fair moved to its present location behind the Hopkinton High School, as it needed more land for its ever expanding exhibits. In 1953, the Fair Association acquired more property for additional expansion.
In 1980, the fair became a five-day event opening on Thursday and operating through Labor Day.
In December 1985, the association directors voted to change the name of the fair to its current “Hopkinton State Fair”.
In 2014, the association decided to shorten the fair back to a four-day event, running Friday through Labor Day.
60TH HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY FAIR – What do you remember from early fairs? What does the Fair mean to you? Share pictures on our Facebook page,Hillsborough County Agricultural Fair
FAIR PET POLICY: NO PETS, INCLUDING DOGS, are allowed on the fairgrounds unless they are certified service animals. PLEASE LEAVE THEM AT HOME.
HOURS: Friday 12pm-9pm, Saturday 9am-9pm, Sunday 9am-6pm
PRICES: $10 per person ages 13-adult. $5 per person for Seniors, Active Military personnel, Veterans and children ages 6-12. Under age 6 free. Advance purchase tickets available at a discount. Order using camping and pass order form or contact the Pre-Fair office at (603) 641-6060. We will have a booth at the New Boston Farmers Market on Saturdays in August offering discounted tickets as well.
For your safety, all persons entering the facility are subject to search of their persons and belongings at the discretion of the Deerfield Fair.
Adults - $10.00 each (13 and older)
Children 12 and younger are FREE
Senior Days are Thursday and Friday - $7.00 each (65 and older)
All Military - FREE (active, reserves, and veterans with identification)
No dogs are allowed during the fair. Thank you!
We do not rent wheelchairs or scooters.
HOURS The fair is open Thursday, September 27th from 8:00 am until 10:00 pm; Friday, September 28th from 8:00 am until 10:00 pm; Saturday, September 29th from 8:00 am until 10:00 pm and Sunday, September 30th from 8:00 am until 7:00 pm.
ADVANCE TICKETS Advance tickets are available for $8.00 each starting in early August and may be purchased by visiting the administration office on the fairgrounds or at one of the following locations: Candia First Stoppe, Candia; Radio Grove Hardware, Raymond; Osborne's Agway, Hooksett, Concord and Belmont; Mike's Meat Shoppe, Pittsfield; J.R. Rosencrantz & Sons, Derry and Kensington; Deerfield Veterinary Clinic, Deerfield and Yannis Pizza, Deerfield. Advance tickets are on sale until September 16, 2018. Thank you for your patronage.
AMUSEMENT RIDES Rockwell Amusement & Promotions, Inc. is the Deerfield Fair's supplier for amusement rides. Ride Special Days are Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00pm with unlimited rides for $25.00 AND Sunday from 9:00 am to 6:00pm with unlimited rides for $30.00.
PARKING IS FREE We have over 100 acres of free parking. We also have premium parking, which is across from "A" Gate (Firehouse/Police) and is $5.00 a vehicle.
CAMPING We do allow camping in our camping area, which is behind "G" Gate. Camping is $30.00 a night with hook-up (water/electric) and $20.00 a night for dry camping. For further information, please see Forms & Information.
DIRECTIONS From Manchester - 93 N to Exit 7; 101 East, Exit 3 to Rte. 43. From Concord - Rte. 4 E to 107 South; Exeter - Route 101 W to Exit 5, Right on Rte. 107; Nashua - Rte. 3 to 293 N, merge to 93 N, Exit 7 to 101 E, Exit 3 onto 43; Massachusetts - 93 N to Exit 7, Rte. 101 E, Exit 3, take right off exit and follow signs; Maine - 95 S to Rte. 4 (Portsmouth), Rte. 4 W to Rte. 43 S; Massachusetts (Eastern) 95 N to 101 W, Exit 5 to 107; Dover/Rochester - 125 S to Rte. 4 W, take 43 S 34 Stage Road, Deerfield, NH 03037.