Hooksett Old Home Day celebrates community
For many in Hooksett, however, the yearly event is simply a chance to spend a day with their town. Old neighbors took newcomers around the grounds to meet the locals; parents watched their children and their friends’ children perform together singing and gymnastics events; patrons of the Northern Red Popper and Robie’s Country Deli mingled with staff and owners; a Boy Scout from Troop 292, holding a sign that read “Do What We Do,” danced at his booth to a young girl singing onstage for the Miss Old Home Day pageant.
After years of Old Home Days, the event still achieves a singular purpose — to give the town a chance to celebrate.
“It’s neat to see the town come together and have a fun day out in the sun,” said Gayle Maddox, 46, of Hooksett. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to see what’s going on in Hooksett, (and it’s a) fun day for my daughter. She gets to go out and play in the bounce house and listen to Hooksett Idol and have all kinds of fun.”
Attendees navigated the rows of tents featuring local businesses and groups, such as the Team Link School of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu & Mixed Martial Arts and Spotlight Video Productions. A steady crowd surrounded the stage, however, to watch events like the Ameri Kids Demo, Handstand Around the World in celebration of National Gymnastics Day and the Miss Old Home Day pageant, hosted by Mrs. New Hampshire 2012 winner Carrie Alex, 35, of Rochester.
Alex, though not a Hooksett native, was enthusiastic about the day.
“Everything went great today,” she said. “All the girls were wonderful. I loved all the food and the booths. We had fun … . I think (Old Home Day) is great. I think that my town needs to have something like this.”
In a poignant inversion of Old Home Day’s original purpose of recalling New England emigrants to their roots, for some the day provided an opportunity to discover their new home. Laura Malito moved to Hooksett three months ago with her husband and young son from Rome, after Mr. Malito was hired as an administrator at Southern New Hampshire University.
“We’re just adjusting,” she said, after shyly apologizing for her English. “This is our first kind of experience in America. It was fun. We met nice people and had good food. We read about it in the newspaper, and we were curious to know more about where we live.”
The business tents were not without newcomers themselves. New England’s Tap House Grille, which will open on 1292 Hooksett Road this November, offered samples of bruschetta and pulled pork and took time to get to know their prospective patrons. The chefs working the tent were pleased with the reception.
“It’s a hit,” said one of them of their pulled pork. “We keep running out of it.”
For all the spectacle, food and shopping that Old Home Day offered, however, Hooksett residents like Katie Kale agree that “it’s nice to just mingle and meet people in the town.”
“We had a great turnout,” said Carrie Hyde, chairwoman of the Hooksett Old Home Day Committee. “My focus for Old Home Day is family and community, and I think we achieved that this year.”
Care to share your thoughts on this year’s Old Home Day in Hooksett? The Old Home Day committee welcomes your feedback. They are inviting attendees to get in touch with them by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by going to hooksettoldhomeday.org and filling out the contact us form.
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