Warren Old Home Day events draw thousands
By JOHN KOZIOL
Union Leader Correspondent |
July 13. 2014 8:08PM
Ashley Ney, left, and her sister, Mercedes, right, pose on classic farm tractors owned by a family friend that were on display this weekend on the Town Common during Warren's Old Home Day celebration. (JOHN KOZIOL/Union Leader Correspondent)
WARREN — After three years of trying, the Ney family of Middletown, R.I., finally made it to Warren’s Old Home Day celebration and they’re glad they did.
From Friday through Sunday, Warren’s Old Home Day attracted thousands of visitors to the Town Common, among them the Neys — Tom, his wife, Robin, and their three daughters — who took in what they called an outstanding fireworks show on Friday night and participated in a “Hillbilly Hoedown”-themed parade on Saturday.
The Old Home Day festivities wrapped up on Sunday with a pancake breakfast at the Masonic Hall; a fishing derby; a church service on the Common; a Kiddie Parade; and a pig roast. Warren has held an Old Home Day for more than 100 years, said Don Bagley, who is president of the Warren Historical Society and who, in 2014, served his final year as director of the Old Home Day parade.
A truck driver in the Ocean State, Tom Ney said he’s wanted to come to Warren’s Old Home Day since 2012, before making the trip this year. In addition to themselves, the Neys came to Warren with several vintage farm tractors, which Tom Ney maintains for his friend Don Lee, who owns property in Warren.
The tractors were displayed on the Common, in the shadow of Warren’s newly-painted Redstone missile.
Saturday night’s fireworks display, which lasted about 30 minutes, “better than in Newport,” said Ney, with his wife echoing the sentiment.
The Neys said they’ll be back for the 2015 Old Home Day and invited everyone to join them.
“It’s a great little town,” said Tom Ney, “everyone’s really friendly up here.”
Bagley, who does triple duty as Warren’s deputy fire chief and 911 director as well as head of the historical society, was glad to get the feedback from Ney, saying it reinforced what he had heard from other Old Home Day attendees.
The Old Home Day parade “worked out fabulous,” said Bagley, who wondered, however, how so many marchers were able to find the “Billy Bob” fake teeth which they wore proudly. Overall, the parade featured more than 75 floats and antique and classic motor vehicles in addition to a similar number of all-terrain vehicles and some two dozen emergency vehicles.
“The parade went off swimmingly well and the weather conditions for it were perfect,” said Bagley. “It was just right, not too hot or humid,” he added, which made for lots of spectators — sometimes three-deep — along the parade route.
As expected, Bagley said the rehabbed Redstone — similar to the one that launched Derry’s Alan Shepard into space — inspired lot of favorable comments, including e-mails from as far as Florida.