Old Home Day
Enjoy music, magic and some ‘chowdas’ in SandownBy JASON SCHREIBER
Union Leader Correspondent September 05. 2018 1:04PM
SANDOWN — “Food, folks and fun” was a catchy ad campaign for McDonald’s in the early 1990s, but it also could be the perfect slogan for Sandown’s Old Home Day Fall Festival.
The annual event, to be held Friday and Saturday, is a time when friends, neighbors and newcomers gather to celebrate the community they call home.
From cow plop bingo and a battle of the “chowdas” to a pie-eating contest and the presentation of the annual Citizen of the Year award, Old Home Day is a tradition that continues to receive the support of its residents, including town voters who approve tax dollars each year to keep the event alive.
“You see a lot of people you don’t see throughout the year,” said Thomas Tombarello, a selectman who is one of about a dozen people who serve on the committee that spends countless hours planning the event each year.
Old Home Day used to be held earlier in the summer, but it was moved to September because people are more apt to be back from vacations and not so busy with activities that fill up school break.
It also has more of a fall feel.
“It gives it a little bit of a different atmosphere,” said Tim Rand, the chairman of the Old Home Day Committee who also heads up the entertainment.
While the event is all about bringing residents together, Rand doesn’t live in town. He used to live in nearby Hampstead, but is now a Salem resident.
Rand, a musician, joined the committee 10 years ago when he was looking for entertainment opportunities and Sandown needed help with its live music.
He continued to lend a hand as an out-of-towner and worked his way up to chairman.
“I think, for me, the most rewarding part is working with the community to provide a nice fall festival for the town. The committee is top notch. It’s a really good group of volunteers,” he said.
The event kicks off at 7 p.m. Friday with live music, a chili cook-off, the battle of the “chowdas,” and a beer and wine tent for those 21 and older sponsored by the Sandown Historical Society at the recreation center.
The fun continues Saturday with a full day of activities in the recreation building area, including a children’s bike parade, steam train rides, pony rides, a petting zoo, magic shows, music, bounce houses, a rock climbing wall, bungee jumping, inflatable rides, and carnival games. A touch a truck event is new this year and will be held at the police station.
The day ends with fireworks at Sandlots Sports and Entertainment, 56 North Road.
Political candidates from both parties will also make appearances.
Tombarello said one feature that won’t be happening this year is the annual parade. While a bike parade for kids is planned, the traditional parade isn’t being held for the first time since he can remember. Pulling the parade off is a big job and funding marching bands can be costly.
Voters in March OK’d $7,000 to fund Old Home Day. Rand said the committee does what it can with a small budget.
“It’s not much compared to some towns, but the committee goes a long way to stretch those funds out,” he said, adding that it’s possible the parade could return next year.
In the meantime, organizers are keeping their fingers crossed for good weather.
Tombarello has a plan if Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate.
“If it rains we’ll do what we did last year,” he said. “We danced in the rain.”
For a full schedule of events or for more information about the annual festival, visit sandown.us.