Old Home Week committee closes chapter on celebration

JOYCE F. NOWELL
Ben Thomas Jr. officially passed the Old Home Week presidential tie to Carol Christophel Monday evening.

“Let me congratulate each one of you for another successful Old Home Week celebration,” said 37th Triennial President Ben Thomas Jr. to a round of applause from the room full of committee members who gathered to put the recent celebration into the history books.

The final meeting of the Old Home Week committee was held Monday, Aug. 30 at the Rescue Hose Company fire hall with a plethora of gratitude and rejoicing, and only a sprinkle of negatives.

“It was a splendid Old Home Week,” said Frank Mowen, outgoing chairman of the Board of Directors. “You all can sure pat yourselves on the back. If you can’t reach, I’ll do it for you.”

Committee reports

A healthy financial picture was presented, followed by individual committee reports that produced a theme of good attendance and positive feedback.

Highlights included:

A total of 3,062 badges were sold prior to and during the celebration. Badges are still available at the G-A Chamber of Commerce office.

Registrar Bob Johnston reported that 905 people registered during the celebration with 20 to 25 percent of those new registrants. He estimated that 3,000 people came through the headquarters. Registrants came from all corners of the United States, Hawaii and in between, along with an international flare including Canada, Nigeria, Jordan, Spain, Greece and Mexico.

The Alumni Reunion drew people from the Class of 1934 through the Class of 2009.

The cycling tour produced triple the riders expected.

Sound in the high school auditorium, not acoustics, was a concern.

People were very, very generous with the donation containers at events.

The fireworks included the largest finale in Pennsylvania this year put on by the company launching them.

The Boy Scout breakfast was well received with more than 400 patrons.

Around 800 children registered for the Fun Fair at the playground. “I’m sure when I looked at the playground that day there were 1,000,” said organizer Kim Siner. Thomas responded, “It was great to see the playground full of children.”

Around 900 people toured the Allison-Antrim Museum in the 24 hours it was open during Old Home Week.

Oldtimers reported that the official photo drew the biggest crowd ever. The final photo measured 5 feet 11 inches long.

Official photographers took more than 5,000 photos.

The new 3-on-3 basketball tournament exceeded expectations.

Videos of the parade are available for $15 by contacting John Alleman at parkman51@hotmail.com

More than 500 people visited Sandy Hollow on the final Saturday of Old Home Week.

Final thoughts

Before handing the gavel to incoming president Carol Christophel, Thomas paused for a final thank you to those assembled.

“It has been a huge pleasure,” said Thomas. “It’s been a blast.

“I can’t thank you all enough. It’s been the most challenging and yet the most rewarding position I’ve ever had. Not one person said no to me.

“If the country and the world would look at the success and spirit of this Old Home Week celebration, they would learn a lot. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.”

Christophel, who will be the first woman to preside over an Old Home Week, announced that the 38th Triennial will be held Aug. 3 to 10, 2013. The committee will meet the final Monday of each month beginning in September 2012.

“Thanks to you gentlemen for having faith in me,” she said. “Other communities are envious of Old Home Week. It takes all of us to do this. I hope you will all stand behind me as we head toward another celebration.”

Suggestions, mostly positive, submitted through boxes placed in the community during and following Old Home Week were reviewed by the committee. A number of the submissions made suggestions for new things or changes, but one ended with “if you don't change a thing in the coming years, I will still think OHW is perfect.”

Old Home Week committee members met for the last time Monday for the 37th Triennial cycle.