Slow start to Old Home Week

Stephanie Ziebarth

On Saturday, I was just a tiny bit worried about Old Home Week. I had been telling my sister-in-law and others new to town what a big deal Old Home Week was. We laid out the schedule, made a plan, and prepared to participate.

Saturday morning, we started with BSA Troop 413's lovely breakfast at the Kauffman Community Center. It was delicious, nicely managed, and well attended. From there, we headed to participate in many of the activities offered downtown, with plans to join in with the official opening if it worked out.

All morning the weather had looked like rain might break loose at any moment. Indeed, it did for a little while"just in time to force the opening ceremony indoors. Was the weather enough to keep the crowds in? I wondered, because, everywhere we went, there just weren't very many people.

We enjoyed our activities. We appreciated the leisurely pace and chance to talk with people all along the way. But I wondered whether Old Home Week was losing its mojo.

I pondered all the reasons this might be, with the most seemingly valid being whether Old Home Week was reaching the younger generations and those newer to the community. I reflected on the fact that I had seen almost no buzz about Old Home Week on social media.

Then came Sunday. The first cantata, held at the high school, was packed. The second (which we attended, knowing it is generally less crowded) was well attended and much appreciated. After not only the concert, but also the milling about and socializing, my family headed over to Mikie's for some ice cream. We waited in what was probably the longest line I've experienced there in quite a while.

It was almost 11 by the time we reached home. Since we were still up, I suggested to my husband that we just take a quick walk down to the square to catch a glimpse of the 'unofficial' opening. As we walked the four blocks from our house, we passed people all along the way, many carrying chairs or holding hands with loved ones. The closer we got to the square, the more crowded it became.

Below the lovely, lit clock tower, the crowd was thick. To the sounds of 'Jessie's Girl,' I saw children dodging their way through the crowd, middle-aged women dancing, older couples absorbing the experience, younger couples walking hand-in-hand as they sought a place to sit. There were sights, sounds and smells aplenty.

Old Home Week, I decided, is alive and well. And all generations are accounted for.