The 2007 Orwell Old Home Days wasn't as robust as other years, but it still attracted a good turnout.
Due a late start and a few unforeseen circumstances, the annual event was a one-day affair. But what it lacked in quality it made up for in enthusiasm. Nearly perfect weather helped.
The day started off with an outdoor church service. Close to 75 people crowded under the pavilion to listen to music, readings, and a brief message. Terri and Joe Howard were joined by Becky Rudd for several rousing numbers, then local talent Roxanne Ferguson, Teresa Ward, and Jimmy Macklen each performed. Several readings from the book, Wrinkles, Warts and Worries by Darlene J. Nipper were interspersed with the music. The popular Orwell Puppeteers also performed their version of Achy Breaky Heart.
Dave Snyder, Pastor of the Orwell United Methodist Church, presented a simple and moving message about the community and how the people of Orwell pull together during a crisis. The message was especially fitting, since the 2007 Old Home Days almost didn't happen.
"At the last minute, we decided to at least hold the barbecue and an outdoor church service," said Rose Graham of the Orwell Church. "Then people started coming forward and offering to help."
After the service, people had a chance to attend the chicken dinner in the town hall, or buy halves at the fire hall. Meanwhile, on the grounds, a watermelon-eating contest and a balloon toss was held. Under the pavilion, there was face-painting, games, a book sale, a bake sale, raffles, and the Lollipop Tree.
The event wound up with a children's pushball contest, a great way to wash off the stickiness of watermelon juice.
"With the momentum we've got now, we plan to hold next year's Old Home Days over two days," said Rose last year. "It's amazing how everyone worked together to make this year's event such a success."
Rose's prediction proved to be true. This year's Old Home Days has returned to as not a two-day event, but three.
The event starts off Friday with a softball game and Orwell Teen Contest.
Saturday includes a baby show, a parade, Music in the Park featuring George Stevens and other local talent, a puppet show, plus food, children's games, crafts and jewelry sale.
The outdoor church service will be held on Sunday, with a chicken barbecue at noon.
Orwell's Old Home Days is a tradition that has endured over the years. At the first Old Home Day, held in 1949, contestants could vie for money prizes in the amateur talent show. First prize was three silver dollars. According to a 1949 newspaper article, other activities included a pet parade, a fortune-telling booth, and a "Historical Pageant".
Some of the activities have changed, but one thing has remained constant. Through the hard work of volunteers, the Old Home Days continues to be a place of fun and fellowship.
For more information on this year's Old Home Days, visit ShopInPulaski and click on Events.
Orwell is located in Central New York, about 50 minutes north of Syracuse.