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Old Home Days, Take Two: Rain Fails to Dampen Community Spirit in Enfield

Matthew Tourville, 5, and Sienna Plamondon, 8, both of Canaan, N.H., hop off of Trevor Rocke's 1948 Ford truck on their way to get slushies during the car show at Old Home Days in Enfield on July 27, 2014.  (Valley News - Ariana van den Akker)

Matthew Tourville, 5, and Sienna Plamondon, 8, both of Canaan, N.H., hop off of Trevor Rocke's 1948 Ford truck on their way to get slushies during the car show at Old Home Days in Enfield on July 27, 2014. (Valley News - Ariana van den Akker) Purchase photo reprints »

Enfield — A thunderstorm did not prevent residents from coming together to celebrate the last day of Old Home Days weekend on Sunday.

“It’s a great way to bring the community together to celebrate ,” said Kirstin Harrington, a member of the Old Home Days committee.

Old Home Days is a New Hampshire tradition that goes back more than a century . In Enfield, however, it was a tradition that had fallen by the wayside.

The town’s Heritage Commission organized an Old Home Days weekend to follow-up on the 2011 celebration of 250th anniversary, and this year, organizers aimed to make it an annual event.

“The goal is to do this during the last weekend in July every year, and maybe even add more events,” Harrington said.

Festivities kicked off with a sold-out chili cook-off. On Saturday, an “enchanted island” event and an ice cream social provided fun for children, while a chicken barbecue and a community dance entertained the adults.

Guitarist Jim Hollis played live music at the Huse Park dance.

“I’ve been playing around here for 35 years,” he said. “And I’m an Enfielder, so I feel I owe it to the town. There’s been a lot of great things going on this weekend.”

On Sunday, the Enfield Shaker Museum opened its doors at 11 a.m., with free admission for town residents.

“Starting today, we’ll be giving ongoing free tours to Enfield residents,” Dolores Struckhoff, executive director of the museum, said. “One of the museum’s objectives is to get more involved with the town, and this is a good way to give back to the community.”

Enfield resident Sally Sharp said she enjoyed the weekend .

“I’ve lived in Enfield for 15 years, so I’m all over it,” she said. “I went to the band concert on Friday, and after the museum, my family and I are going to go over to the community sailing event.”

Robert LaCroix, whose family owns Shaker Valley Auto, helped organize a classic car show on the lawn of the museum. Among the cars was LaCroix’s own submission, a 1934 Ford Cabriolet.

“I’ve been working on old cars since I was 14,” LaCroix said. “It’s a passion of mine. I dragged the Cabriolet out of a field, and put it together from bits and pieces.”

A few miles away from the museum, the Enfield Historical Society put on a re-enactment at the Lockehaven Schoolhouse, which was built in 1864. Lisa Torres, a member of the Historical Society and a chemistry teacher, and Francine Lozeau, a retired teacher, demonstrated what a typical school day might have been like for Enfield children at the turn of the 20th Century.

“I was a teacher for a long time,” Lozeau said. “Although I have to admit, I’ve never taught in a one-room schoolhouse.”

Lozeau and Torres opened by taking attendance, using the names of children who once attended the school. Bible readings were traditional in those days, so Lozeau did a reading from Psalms. Torres led a scavenger hunt, helping kids find objects around the schoolhouse, and also gave kids problems to do on the small slate chalkboards that were commonly used to teach children arithmetic in that era. She also recounted a story about what recess was like in the 1890s.

“In that time, the boys would eat lunch while the girls were outside at recess, and then the girls would come in and the boys would go outside,” Torres said. “During class, boys and girls sat separately, too. There’s a hole in the wall here, where a boy would pass notes to the girl he liked while she was outside at recess. It’s a sweet story.”

Meredith Smith, the chairwoman of the Old Home Days Committee, thought the weekend went very well — rain notwithstanding.

“I had my heart in my throat when it started raining, but thankfully the sun came out in time for the car show,” she said. “Attendance was great, everything was successful, and we look forward to doing it next year.”

Lauren Bender can be reached at lbender@vnews.com or 603-727-3211.

Correction

The town of Enfield celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2011. An earlier version of this story gave the incorrect year.