Week for Wilton

WILTON – Old Home Week was “a wonderful nine days,” Co-chairman Gary Crooker told his committee and other residents at closing ceremonies on Sunday evening, the last event in a celebration held every five years. No events were rained out in spite of a few showers.

Crooker, who has been chairman since 1979 said, “Every time I do it, I have some thoughts I won’t do it again – but I know I will.”

The ceremonies were held at the Second Congregational Church, opened and closed by new minister Regina Kinney.

“One of my favorite parts is naming the Grand Marshals. We put a lot of thought into choosing them, keeping the theme in mind.”

With this year also Wilton’s 275th Neighbors.” The three marshals, Charlie McGettigan, Stanley Young and Allan “Rollie” Jowders, are among the town’s oldest citizens and long-time contributors to the town.

The ceremony was also a tribute to Bob Mackintosh, a long-time committee member who died a few months ago.

Selectman Kermit Williams offered thanks to the committee on behalf of the board and the town.

“They say there is no community spirit left,” he said, “but I know there is.”

Saturday was the high point of the week-long celebration of Old Home Days with a grand parade, which was a perfect day for a parade and hundreds of resident turned out along the route and later in Whiting Park for music, a chicken barbecue, and many local vendors.

Parade Marshal Stan Young chose to lead the parade on one of his favorite antique John Deere tractors, while the others rode in antique cars. Behind them was The Temple Band.

There were fire trucks, Boy Scouts, the Shriners’ little cars, music from two neighboring town bands and lots of candy for the younger watchers.

Once collected on The Flat in front of the elementary school, the floats were parked so they could be admired. Booths from many organizations surrounded the area.

The Temple Band presented a concert of traditional favorites, followed by The Mad Bavarians and polka music, and then a Beatles tribute by Studio Two.

The Old Homes Days Dance, on a floor under the big tent, went on until midnight with music by The Nines.

The selectmen, Bill Condra, Kermit Williams and Rick Swanson served as float judges. Because of the difficult choices, Williams said, they arbitrarily added an Honorable Mention category.

Winning Best in Theme were The Wilton Democrats. Riding on their poster-covered float was Polly Kenick, 104, holder of the town’s Boston Post Cane, Lincoln Geiger, manager of Four-Corners Farm and Temple-Wilton Community Garden, as well the local pols.

Second place went to Second Congregational Church for their depiction of a backyard and conversation over a picket fence.

Third place went to Label Art.

The Most Humorous Award went to “The Blue Bus,’ the entry by Souhegan Valley Rides whose “blue bus” recently expanded into Wilton. Roam Cafe was second with a wedding car, and third was “Grumpy,” Rollie Reynolds in his little wooden car, a perennial entry.

The entry from the House B the side of the Road was judged prettiest for its banks of flowers.

The Wilton Public Gregg Free Library was second with a hand drawn depiction of the library, and third was another flower-bedecked float from Flower Power.

Other events during the week included a BMX Bike show, martial arts demonstrations, dog agility, a children’s parade, a fire muster, a horseshoe tournament and an event-long scavenger hunt.

Several high school classes chose the week to hold reunions.