Old Home Week planners will deal with whatever COVID-19 has in store

Shawn Hardy
Echo Pilot

The clock on the Old Home Week website, oldhomeweek.org, is ticking away the days, hours and minutes until the 41st triennial celebration gets underway on Aug. 6, 2022.

The Greencastle-Antrim tradition has been held every three years without fail since Philip Baer initiated the first Old Boys' Reunion in 1902.

A crowd gathers on Center Square every three years for the countdown to midnight at the unofficial opening of Old Home Week. Committee heads begin meeting in September to plan the 2022 celebration.

It's endured through two world wars — although shortened to three days in both 1917 and 1944, according to "A Memory Kept Safe: The Old Home Week Story," published for the 29th Triennial in 1986.

The COVID-19 pandemic is lurking around the edges, but planning for the Aug. 6 to 13, 2022, celebration is getting off the ground.

"We don't know what the COVID situation will be next year. Whatever it is, we'll deal with it," said Bonnie Shockey, president for 2022.

She recently emailed the chairs of the 40-plus committees with the schedule of meetings, which will be held monthly starting Sept. 27.

These were committee chairs for the 40th Triennial Old Home Week in 2019. Many will be involved in planning the 41st celebration scheduled Aug. 6 to 13, 2022.

The meetings are held at the Rescue Hose Co., and the OHW Board of Directors voted unanimously to require everyone to wear a mask in keeping with the fire company's health and safety guidelines. As people enter, temperatures will be taken with a touchless thermometer.

"For anyone who wishes to stay at home, every effort is being made to provide a Zoom link for participation," Shockey wrote in the email.

After sending the email in mid-August, she said she realized, "It's really going to happen and by this time next year Old Home Week will be over, so let's try to enjoy each day as it comes."

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The committee heads are in charge of the dozens of activities that fill the week, from the official and unofficial openings the first weekend to the military band concert, fireworks and official closing the second.

Members of the Greencastle-Antrim High School Class of 1969 were among the participants in the 2019 Old Home Week parade. Committee heads begin meeting in September to plan the 2022 celebration.

Thousands of local residents and former residents traveling from across the country will enjoy everything from the antique car show, concerts, pageant and dog show to the parade, flower show and class reunions and everything in between, including lining up on Center Square for the official Old Home Week photo.

Information will be coming out later about how people can get involved in helping with the the festivities.

Shawn Hardy is a reporter with Gannett's Franklin County newspapers in south-central Pennsylvania — the Echo Pilot in Greencastle, The Record Herald in Waynesboro and the Public Opinion in Chambersburg. She has more than 35 years of journalism experience. Reach her at shardy@gannett.com