Out & About: Royalton celebrates 250th at Old Home Days

  • Mark Wood, of the Royalton Fire Department, digs out the bean hole on the South Royalton Green Friday, July 29, 2016 where baked beans have been cooked for Old Home Days since the mid-1950's. Firefighters will bake 35 to 40 pounds of beans overnight in the seven foot, granite lined trench. "You never know until you take the cover off what the hell you're going to get," said Fire Captain Paul Whitney. "I think after 25 years, I've got it figured out," said Wood. Old Home Days continue on the green following a parade at 10 a.m. Saturday. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Calendar Editor
Published: 8/12/2019 8:00:16 PM

ROYALTON — Every summer, Royalton hosts an Old Home Days celebration that features live music, activities for children and the volunteer fire department’s famed bean hole beans.

This year’s Old Home Days, which take place this coming Thursday-Sunday will be extra special, as the town will also be celebrating its 250th birthday.

“A lot of things are the same,” said Brittney Shackett, a member of the Old Home Days committee. “However, we incorporated more of the birthday theme this year.”

On Sunday at 2 p.m., cake and ice cream will be served at the Royalton Common.

“The parade theme is also birthday. It will be really interesting to see what people come up with,” Shackett said. The parade takes place at 10 a.m. on Saturday. It begins at the old Journey Church, travels up South Windsor Street to Chelsea Street, then continues onto Railroad Street and Safford Street before ending at the church.

New this year is a rubber ducky race at Paine’s Beach at 3 p.m. Fireworks can be viewed from the Green at 9 p.m. that night.

“I am personally a fan of silent auctions and chicken barbecues and both of those things are sponsored by the South Royalton Fire Department,” Shackett said. 

The event also features live music and activities for children. 

“I think there's a great mix of things for kids,” said Shackett, who is the mother of a four year old.

Events specific to the town’s 250th include a walking tour of the village of South Royalton led by Vermont State Architectural Historian Devin Colman at 6 p.m. on Thursday night during the town band concert on the green, according to information provided by Town Historian John Dumville. On Saturday from 1-5 p.m. at the Royalton Academy Building in Royalton Village, Denny Ferguson, President of the Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial Historic Site, and his wife, Marcene, will host family genealogy workshops. Also on Saturday, there will be tours of the historic First Congregational Church where Marilyn Polson will play 1882 George Ryder tracker pipe organ and the Mason & Hamlin reed organ. Polson will also play 1836 tracker-action pipe organ made by William Nutting, Jr. of Randolph Center at the former St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, where films made in Royalton will be available to watch. The Royalton Historical Society will open its museum at the Royalton Town House where Sue Cain will demonstrate wool and flax spinning. Jeanne Brink will discuss Vermont’s Abenaki heritage during a 2 p.m. talk at Royalton Academy.

The town was chartered in 1769 by the royal governor of New York, Dumville said, and it was rechartered in 1781 by Vermont. The town was raided on Oct. 16, 1780, by a British-led party of Mohawks. Four people were killed. 

“Shortly after the raid, the town began to grow,” Dumville said. 

The first U.S. Census, conducted in 1791, showed 149 families living in town. 

“Royalton Village was the center of the town,” Dumville said. That changed when the rail road came to town in 1849 and a train station was erected in South Royalton. “South Royalton grew in population while Royalton declined.”

Samantha Bruce is a long time Royalton resident and member of the Royalton Volunteer Fire Department. She looks forward to Old Home Days each year.

“For me, it’s just seeing all the community members coming out to support all the local nonprofits,” Bruce said. “It’s almost kind of like a reunion.”

Bruce said town residents are close and always willing to help each other out. That was quite evident when Tropical Storm Irene came through the area in 2011.

“My favorite thing is when someone is in crisis, how everyone just pulls together to help one another out,” Bruce said. “It’s very community-based.”

Editor’s note: For more information about Royalton Old Home Days visit Facebook: Royalton Old Home Days. Liz Sauchelli can be reached at esauchelli@vnews.com or 603-727-3221.

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