Wendell to showcase its ‘fun-loving community’ at revived Old Home Day

  • People dance on the Wendell Town Common during the 2018 Old Home Day. The event returns Saturday following a pandemic-induced hiatus. Staff File Photo/Dan Little

  • Shawn Jarrett, left, teaches students from Kemsley Academy how to spin plates during the 2018 Old Home Day in Wendell. The event returns Saturday following a pandemic-induced hiatus. Staff File Photo/Dan Little

  • Danny Botkin, front, passes around a hacky sack with Helon Francis, right, Laura Botkin, middle, and Evelyn Lane, during the 2018 Old Home Day in Wendell. The event returns Saturday following a pandemic-induced hiatus. Staff File Photo/Dan Little

For the Recorder
Published: 8/11/2022 3:47:07 PM
Modified: 8/11/2022 3:43:52 PM

WENDELL — Following a pandemic-induced hiatus, Wendell’s Old Home Day will return on Saturday for the first time since 2019.

Festivities will take place at the Wendell Town Common from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The event is part of a long tradition, dating back to the 1930s when it was first started by the Wendell Ladies Aid Society. The modern event, which ran for 46 consecutive summers, was revived in 1973. However, due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Old Home Day could not take place in either 2020 or 2021.

This year, the festival is being revived again, this time by a committee known as the Old Home Day Organizing Group (OHDOG). The group consists of Christine Texiera, Kathy Becker, Alistair Maclean, Amy Cora Simmons, Laura Morin and Doug Tanner.

Although the Old Home Day Organizing Group only started planning for the event in the middle of June, its members are not alone in the organizing process. The Board of Health, Police Department, Fire Department and Selectboard have all been cooperating with the committee to ensure the town has everything it needs for Old Home Day.

“(Old Home Day) draws from the local area,” Becker explained, noting “Wendell’s reputation for being a fun-loving community with a lot of character.”

Food will be provided by Diemand Farm, as well as two food trucks: Santo Taco and Sun Kim Bop, which are based in Turners Falls and Springfield, respectively. The town common will be filled with a wide array of vendors and organizations, with a children’s area to feature potato sack races. Among the items for sale will be a history of Wendell titled “Wendell, Massachusetts: Its Settlers and Citizenry 1752-1900,” which was written by Wendell summer resident Pamela Richardson, assisted by notes from the late Thomas E. Sawin (1810-1873). The highlight of the day will be what Becker describes as “the world’s shortest, most amazing parade” at 11 a.m.

In addition to the events, there will be music playing all day, organized by Tanner. He said the music will be more quiet and low-key this year, describing it as more of a “coffeehouse under the tree.” Whereas previous Old Home Days have attracted professional acts from across the Pioneer Valley, this year, Tanner is encouraging guests to bring instruments from their own home and play music for fun.

“This is a community uprising,” Becker said about the return of the festival. “The community is coming together to celebrate something we love.”


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