Community bids farewell until next time

Fireworks delighted thousands on the school grounds Friday night.

“Wow. Have you enjoyed the 37th Triennial Old Home Week celebration this week?” Ben Thomas Jr. said amidst cheers, whoops and hollers on Center Square Saturday as the Town Clock struck 11.

“I want to thank each and every one of you for your participation, for you donations, for your attendance to make this wonderful event so successful for 108 years. Wow.”

Thomas, president of the 37th edition of the celebration was joined on stage by OHW directors Frank Ervin, Jeff Shank and Greg Hoover and the officers for the 38th Triennial set for 2013. Thomas announced secretary Ed Wine and treasurer Andrew Everetts and for the first time held by a woman, as president, Carol Christophel.

“It’s going to be an honor and a privilege to serve everyone,” Christophel told the crowd.

“I don’t know how I’m going to outdo Ben because everything went so perfect for him, but it was great seeing everyone and please come back in 2013 for the 38th Triennial.”

By most accounts the 37th Old Home Week was a hands down success and could be considered stronger than ever after 108 years.

“I am super ecstatic — with the participation, with the weather we had, all the volunteerism. What a blessing for this community,” the president said.

“I attribute it to the enthusiasm of the community, the hard work and dedication of the volunteers. We’ve tried to be motivators for the community. Look at the times of the Depression and World War II. Communities came together even stronger. Old Home Week did it then. And we did it again this year. Keep that enthusiasm going because that’s what makes America right there.

“People are drawn to an event like this in this day and age. When the going gets tough, you get even tougher. This is a community of very strong, very resilient people, whether you were born here or came here to make it your home. You fall in love with this area thanks to the warmth of the people.”

Thomas only sees an even brighter future for Old Home Week.

“Absolutely we can go forth with a woman in charge. And Carol is the right choice. She has decades of behind the scenes experience. She was my support system throughout the past three years and I’m going to be her support over the next three. I look forward to it.”

Thomas addressed the crowd for the final time as president, “We now declare the 37th Triennial closed, however keep this warmth in your heart with your families and with your friends and spread it around the world. Thank you very, very, very much.”

Carol Christophel addresses the crowd at the “Unofficial Closing” on the square Saturday night. Christophel is the president for the next celebration in 2013. She is the first woman to hold the office in the 108-year history of Old Home Week.