Event draws natives back to Greencastle, Pa.

July 29, 2004|by Cheryl M. Keyser

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Greencastle's triennial Old Home Week officially opens on Saturday, July 31, with a five-kilometer run and walk named in honor of Fred Kaley, a former coach and school principal.

But the real festivities of this weeklong celebration start Sunday, Aug. 1, with the sacred cantata sung by three community choirs and directed by Richard Besecker. This performance has become popular enough that it will be performed twice this year, at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.

The evening continues with the so-called "unofficial opening" in Center Square.

"There are informal block parties as people converge on the blocked-off square to wait for the town clock to strike midnight," said Greg Hoover, president of the 35th triennial Old Home Week. "There is entertainment, and people sing into the wee hours of the morning. You see people you haven't seen in a long time who have returned home for this occasion."


Old Home Week began in 1902, the idea of Professor Philip Baer, a renowned concert singer, who organized a reunion of his Greencastle friends. About 65 of the "old boys" showed up. In 1905, it was opened up to other family members, inaugurating a more than 100-year tradition. Old Home Week continuously has been celebrated every three years since.

On Tuesday, Aug. 2, and Wednesday, Aug. 3, the "Do You Remember" Pageant will be staged.

"This play is based on the story of Greencastle-Antrim and reflects its history and growth," Hoover said.

Parade Day is Thursday, Aug. 4. Marching groups, floats and fire companies from the Tri-State area will follow a two-mile route through downtown to the delight of sidewalk and front-porch spectators.

And on Friday, Aug. 5, the skies will sparkle with a fireworks show, preceded by a concert from the U.S. Army Band.

Throughout the week, there will be live entertainment nightly on the square and a constant round of activities from sporting events to lectures, tours of local institutions and, new this year, a dog show during which fun will be valued over propriety.

Old Home Week's organization is a major community effort.

"We have over a thousand volunteers," Hoover said. It is supported by donations and the sale of admission badges for $5 each.

This event has "a wonderful hometown feel," said Dana Given, executive director of the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce. "We're rolling out the red carpet."

Cheryl M. Keyser is a freelancer for The Herald-Mail.

If you go ...

Old Home Week
Saturday, July 31, through Saturday, Aug. 7
Greencastle, Pa.

Starting Saturday, July 31, registration for Old Home Week will be at First National Bank of Greencastle at Center Square. A $5 fee includes a program of the week's events and the official badge.

For more information, call 1-717-597-4610 before July 31; call 1-717-404-3574 during the week; or go to on the Web for event entry forms.

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