The Old Home Week party has started and here are some highlights

Shawn Hardy
Echo Pilot

Vernon McCauley, the community's chief cheerleader, led the festivities Sunday night for the unofficial opening of the 41st triennial Greencastle-Antrim Old Home Week.

"We live in the best small town in America," McCauley said, sharing his mantra with the 1,000 or more people gathered on Center Square. He led the countdown to midnight, when the fire siren sounded, the town clock chimed and the crowd sang "The Old Gray Mare," the song that's welcomed the celebration since 1920, according to this year's Old Home Week president, Bonnie Shockey.

See the pictures:41st triennial Greencastle-Antrim Old Home Week official opening

What it's all about:120 years, 50 committees, one big celebration — it's Old Home Week

The late-night program capped a weekend full of activities and heralded what's to come in the weeklong celebration that's been held every three years since 1902.

An estimated 1,000 people or more gathered on Center Square Sunday night for the unofficial opening of the 41st triennial Greencastle-Antrim Old Home Week.

'Who Says You Can’t Go Home?’

Lacey Horst belted out Bon Jovi’s “Who Says You Can’t Go Home?” at the official opening ceremony Saturday and the speaker Chad Wiestling echoed the words.

“You take the home from the boy, but not the boy from his home,” said Wiestling, who has lived across the country and traveled the world since graduating from Greencastle-Antrim High School in 1990.

Chad Wiestling, right, talked with Todd and Deena Kirkwood after speaking at the official Old Home Week opening on Aug. 6. Wiestling was Greencastle-Antrim’s first Big 33 football player in 1990 and the Kirkwoods' son, Nate, was the second, playing this year.

After attending the University of Maryland on a full football scholarship, he played professionally for four years in the Arena Football League, then returned to coach at Maryland. He later held front office positions in the NFL. He now lives in Baltimore and is president and CEO of Black Label Sports Group, an agency representing professional football players.

He spoke fondly of Tony’s Pizza, “ripping and tearing around town on BMX bikes,” and Old Home Week — including following the horses in the parade as a pooper-scooper.

“Apparently, I talk about Greencastle more than I realize,” said Wiestling, explaining his friends remember his stories because they did not grow up in a place like his hometown.

“Who says you can’t go back? It’s been 32 years since I’ve lived here, but I always come back,” Wiestling said. “I couldn’t be more proud to be a son of Greencastle.”

Old Home Week officers, past presidents and other dignitaries waved on the bandstand before the official opening of the 41st triennial Greencastle-Antrim Old Home Week. Bonnie Shockey, president of this year's celebration, is at the front center.

Bonnie Shockey followed Wiestling to the microphone and said, “Chad took the words right out of my mouth.”

She offered brief words of thanks for the honor of being OHW president and to family and friends for their support.

“Let’s get this party started!” she exclaimed.

A ribbon was stretched around the northwest corner of Center Square, Shockey wielded scissors on the bandstand and local youngsters stood below to help tear it to officially open the celebration.

It’s hot, be cool

It’s August in south-central Pennsylvania so Old Home Week days can be scorchers. New this year on South Carlisle Street is a cooling station.

Some Rescue Hose Co. EMS personnel are using a large, air-conditioned Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency tent stocked with cots, medical supplies and water as their base of operations for the week. They’re ready to give people with blisters Band-Aids, check vitals and help anyone feeling the effects of the heat.

Greencastle Police Officer Mike Knechtel is shown with EMS personnel inside the Rescue Hose Co.’s Old Home Week cooling tent. From left, standing: Matthew Locke, Victoria Daley and Mark Miller. Seated: Jamie Daley and Amber Daley.

The goal is to treat people and get them back in circulation, rather than taking them off-site or at a hospital, said Mark Miller, EMS chief.

Parked outside is a bright yellow ATV ready to transport patients from the Old Home Week crowds to the tent.

Linda Faith walks through the misting station set up to cool people off during Old Home Week.

People who are feeling fine also are welcome to stop by and check out the tent or chill out by walking through the nearby misting station under a blue canopy.

Crossing the covered bridge when you come to it

A total of 501 vehicles crossed Martin’s Mill Bridge on the first day of Old Home Week.

The 1849 covered bridge, which has been restored a number of times, is usually closed to traffic, but is open one day every three years for an Old Home Week drive-through.

Antrim Township owns the bridge and township supervisors were on hand to staff the opening. Everyone got a Hershey’s Kiss before they crossed since covered bridges are known as “kissing bridges.”

This year’s drive-through came 50 years after the covered bridge was swept off its piers by the floodwaters of Hurricane Agnes.

Some people were first-time crossers, and others remembered the days when the bridge was open all the time.

“My initials are in there somewhere,” Ray Peterson of Greencastle told Antrim Township Supervisor Chad Murray and his daughter, Grace, after he drove through the bridge.

Brian and Missy Wise of Chambersburg crossed Martin’s Mill Bridge in their bright red 2021 Corvette on Aug. 6, the first day of the 41st Triennial Greencastle-Antrim Old Home Week.

Vehicles ranged from Brian and Missy Wise’s bright red 2021 Corvette to a group from the Hub City Model A Club. In addition to Pennsylvania and Maryland, drivers came from Virginia, Tennessee, Florida, Wisconsin, Wyoming and Arizona.

Who are the winners in the windows?

One of the first events of Old Home Week is the juging of the window displays, which was done Saturday by committee members Amy Hicks, Larisa Martin, Bob O’Connor, Nathan Nardi, Canaan Gour, Landon Gour and Bill Gour.

“There are some wonderful displays this year, as there are every Old Home Week,” said Bill Gour, committee chair. “In fact, there were tough decisions to make in every category. The displays cover a good stretch of downtown, starting at the chamber of commerce, down both sides of Baltimore Street, around the Square and on both sides of South Carlisle Street.”

Prizes were awarded in six categories: History; Our Community; Our Heroes; Toys and Games; Collectibles; and Clothing and Household Items. 

The winners are:

Grand Prize: Mike and Vanessa Wright, Antique Furniture, Clothing, and Household Items (located at Kerm’s Card Shop)

Woody’s Esso won first place in the Old Home Week window display contest History category. It is in the window of My Jacob’s Ladder.

History: First Place: Woody Moser, Woody’s Esso (located at My Jacob’s Ladder); Second Place: The Conococheague Institute, Eighteenth Century Life (located at Fran Kenawell’s State Farm Office)

Our Community: First Place: Class of 1972 (located at Antrim Mortgage); Second Place: WRGG (located at ELM Shoes)

Our Heroes: First Place: Maxine Thrush, Greencastle-Antrim Blue Devils (located at Ohana Hair Studio); Second Place: Angela Henry, Band Geek Meets Football Star (located at Breathe Bodywork)

Toys and Games: First Place: Evelyn White, Children’s Books and Blocks (located at the Aura Building); Second Place: Kryptonite Toyz, Toys and Games from the 1980s to Modern Day (located at Teal Blossom Boutique)

Collectibles: First Place: the bean and biscuit, Baker Wearing Vintage Clothing and Using Collectible Kitchenware (located at the bean and biscuit); Second Place: ELM Department Store, Advertising Memorabilia and Antique Items (located at ELM Department Store)

Clothing and Household Items: First Place: the shop, Vintage Clothing (located at Joyful Arts Studio); Second Place: Pregnancy Ministries, Inc., Vintage Clothing and Household Items (located at Pregnancy Ministries, Inc.)

The grand prize was $300. First place in each category received $150 and second place, $100.

Grandson honors Korean War veteran who died last week

A big, sand-colored military vehicle stood out among the shiny cars that lined North Carlisle Street and nearby parking lots for the antique car show Sunday afternoon.

Charles Young, a Korean War veteran who died Aug. 3, was honored on the military truck his grandson, Gary Morganthal, exhibited at the Old Home Week antique car show.

The words “In Memory of Charles E. Young, 1933-2022” were stenciled on the bumper. Young died Aug. 3, one month shy of his 89th birthday. A Korean War veteran, he served aboard the aircraft carrier Leyte.

Old military trucks are the hobby of his grandson, Gary Morganthal, a Greencastle native who now lives in Waynesboro. A photo of his grandfather and the Navy flag were displayed on the front of the truck and Morganthal plans to eventually put more of a tribute on the tailgate.

Gary Morganthal’s military truck was a one-of-a-kind entry in the Old Home Week car show.

The show featured nearly 200 vehicles. Some might call it the whims of weather, but others may chalk it up to Old Home Week magic that heavy rain fell in nearby communities, but only very light showers fell on the car show.

Also noteworthy

Greencastle artist Eliane Ambrose turned 85 on Aug. 6, the first day of Old Home Week. She’s hosting an open house with several other local artists all week on Joy Drive.

Aug. 6, the first day of Old Home Week, was extra special for well-known Greencastle artist Eliane Ambrose. She turned 85 and sported a tiara and sash in honor of the big day. She’s hosting an open house with several other local artists all week on Joy Drive.

The parade that steps off at 6 p.m. Thursday is the biggest John Alleman, in his sixth Old Home Week as chairman, has seen. As of Saturday, there were 150 entries. Three years ago, there were about 120. Streets on the parade route — Washington, Franklin, Carlisle and Allison streets and Walter Avenue — will close around 5:15.

For more information, including the schedule of events, visit the Old Home Week website.

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