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Greencastle-Antrim community eagerly awaiting 38th triennial Old Home Week

The event is a chance for residents and former residents of the town to reunite

July 29, 2013|By ROXANN MILLER | roxann.miller@herald-mail.com
  • In this Herald-Mail file photo, bicyclists ride through the square in Greencastle, Pa., on the Tour of Antrim Township Bike Ride during the final day of the 37th triennial Greencastle. The Greencastle-Antrim community is counting down the days until the town launches its 38th triennial Old Home Week celebration Saturday through Aug. 11.
Herald-Mail file photo

GREENCASTLE, Pa. — The Greencastle-Antrim community is counting down the days until the town launches its 38th triennial Old Home Week celebration Saturday through Aug. 11.

Old Home Week, which has been held without interruption since 1902, is a chance for residents and former residents of the town to reunite.

Everyone is welcome, said Carol Christophel, the first woman president of the Old Home Week Association.

“Even if you’re not from the Greencastle-Antrim area, you’ll have a good time. There’s all kinds of things to enjoy,” Christophel said.

It takes a year of planning and more than 500 volunteers to pull off the townwide event, she said.

“The first one was started in 1902 by professor Philip Baer. It was just for the men and the boys of Greencastle to get together and have a reunion,” Christophel said.

She said it was held every three years because it took town folk that long to make the trek back to Greencastle by horse and wagon.

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The first reunion was such a success that they decided to hold the event three years later in 1905 and invite the wives and families. That’s when the name changed to Old Home Week, she said.

Christophel said the weeklong event is funded by donations from the community and businesses, as well as from the sale of Old Home Week items such as badges, T-shirts and hats.

Event organizers have never considered holding the celebration more frequently than every three years, she said.

“We don’t want to break from tradition, and a lot of work goes into it,” Christophel said.

“You can’t ask the community to take a big event on like this every year, and it just wouldn’t mean as much to everybody,” she said. “It just gives everybody a chance to come home every three years.”

Christophel said between 5,000 and 10,000 people flock to the Greencastle area to participate in the nonstop activities on tap for Old Home Week.

“People come from all over — Florida, California, Nigeria, Spain, Mexico, Greece — they come from everywhere,” she said. “People just want to come back to Greencastle and greet people, see people and make new friends. It’s a good time for family, both children and adults, to get together ... there are activities for the young and the young at heart.

“I don’t know another town that has a triennial celebration that has been around this long,” Christophel said.

One of the biggest attractions during Old Home Week is the panoramic group photograph.

The official Old Home Week photo will be taken on the square on Aug. 7 at 11:30 a.m., Christophel said.

“I think people want to be in the photo, because it is getting so large and they can say, ‘Hey I was down there in that picture,’” she said.

Some of the townspeople like to start on one side of the picture, and by the time the camera gets around, they run to the other side and are pictured in both ends of the photo, Christophel said.

“They just love it. Everybody remembers where they stand, so they can find themselves in the picture,” she said.

Three of the biggest events of the week, according to Christophel, are:
• The Unofficial Opening on Sunday night from 7:30 to 1 a.m.
• The parade on Thursday, Aug. 8, at 6:30 p.m.
• The fireworks on Friday, Aug. 9, at dusk at Greencastle-Antrim High School’s Kaley Field.

The Unofficial Opening on Sunday night typically draws about 1,000 people.

“Everybody loves to congregate on the square,” Christophel said.

There will be music on the square from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. by Cazhmiere; followed by the Greencastle- Antrim High School Alumni Band from 10:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.

Then, Russ Clever will hand out songbooks and lead the townspeople in a sing-a-long, Christophel said.

At midnight, the town rings in the unofficial opening of Old Home Week, and the event ends by 1 a.m.

The official opening of Old Home Week is Saturday at 11:30 a.m., Christophel said.

This will be Susan Armstrong’s first Old Home Week serving as Greencastle borough manager.

“This is my first opportunity to be part of it, and I’m just looking forward to it,” she said.

She commended the community for pulling together to put together a fun and organized event.

“What I’ve seen so far it’s almost like a well-oiled machine,” she said.

“I think quite honestly it’s one of the best events in the Tri-State area. A community of our size to be able to put on such a large event of this type is just amazing to me,” Armstrong said.

On the Web

For more information on Old Home Week, call OHW headquarters at 717-494-6751 or visit the website that includes the program of events at www.oldhomeweek.org

Old Home Week activities

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