Whitingham celebrates Old Home Week

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WHITINGHAM — Old Home Week is here.

"There have not been a lot of bumps in the road," Old Home Week Chairwoman Carol Mandracchia said on July 28. "Everything has gone very smoothly."

Every 10 years, community members who live or have lived in Whitingham come together to celebrate its history and heritage. The event goes back to 1906.

"I'm 88 so I've been to a few," said Edith Washburn, who grew up in Whitingham. "My family from Alaska is coming, my son and his family. And of course, my other boy and his family live in Bellows Falls, so they'll be here."

Washburn is particularly looking forward to the Variety Show. She said she thinks it gets better each time.

"It's always good," she said. "Of course, a big part of it is meeting people you haven't seen for years."

Unfortunately, her brother Allan Bartlett will not make it this time.

"He always bragged all his life that he never missed an Old Home Week," said Washburn. "He passed away this past fall."

Her class, the Whitingham High School Class of 1946, used to have a float in the parade. The group went from having 16 people down to three.

"So needless to say, there's no float this year. We just do well to get there ourselves," she said.

Jacksonville resident Jan Durfey and her high school class of 1957 are coming to the parade.

"This is our 60th reunion so we are going to march," she said. "There's eight of us left but one of them doesn't like to play with us. Seven of us are participating. We were 15 and we lost seven."

Durfey came home from her camp at Lake Seymour in northern Vermont for the occasion. She said her class had a 55th year reunion.

"It's only been five years but some of them we only see at reunions. We have a couple from Connecticut that I hope are making it up," Durfey said. "I'm looking forward to it."

Planning has been underway for some time now.

"We started a year and a half ago and there's probably 15 committees. It's a big thing," said Edie Brigham, who helped coordinate activities for children. "My budget was almost $2,000. It's really going to be nice. If I had to guess how many people worked on it, I'd say between 50 and 70 for the whole event. Maybe more."

A quilt and craft show will be held 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Whitingham Free Public Library on Thursday. A variety show starts at 7 p.m. at the Twin Valley Middle and High School in Whitingham.

On Friday, a children's parade will begin at 10 a.m. at the school. A petting farm opens at 11 a.m. with a presentation by the Southern Vermont Natural History Museum soon after. A hula hoop demonstration and lessons is also on the agenda. At 1 p.m., there's a children's tractor pull event. A family show with storyteller and folk singer Tim Van Egmond is scheduled for 3 p.m. A variety show begins at 7 p.m. and afterward, there's a fireworks display.

The Old Home Week parade will start at 10 a.m. on Saturday. A children's carnival with games and a big bouncy slide opens at 1 p.m. at the school.

"Then there are sporting events for middle school and high school kids all afternoon," said Brigham. "They just got a new gaga court."

Nighttime activities include music and dancing.

A family foot race from Town Hill to the school starts at 9 a.m. Sunday. A community church service will follow at the school and will include a children's story. More activities are listed at whitinghamoldhomeweek.com.

Contact Chris Mays at 802-254-2311, ext. 273.


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