Last year it was all new to me. This year our family got to really feel the sense of community that Old Home Day brings out in all of Carlisle. This is not a top down performance. This is a day that people of this town work toward throughout the year. It is a culmination of private efforts to maintain a longstanding tradition of rural fair celebration thirty minutes from Boston. It is to my knowledge, the last completely privately funded Old Home Day left in New England – or so I read in the local paper, The Mosquito.
Carlisle, having roughly 1/3 the population of its sister Town of Concord, fosters a certain amount of recognition between residents when they come together. During this weekend especially, the Town Common is actually used by all those ready to enjoy a BBQ. The School becomes a Secondary focal point and Church Street serves as the connection between the two. Church Street is full of delicious aromas and foods, beautiful crafts, bee hive honey making exhibits and more – all manned by locals.
Whats missing? …a hard edge. An edge that can be found increasingly at similar functions in New England. Absent are the professional metal stands that pop up with identical fare of gadgets and gimmicks. Also absent is any reference to pop culture. It’s a bit of an oasis in suburbia that surprisingly draws all the kids of the town and even more beyond belief holds their attention. My daughters were thrilled to come together on the school plaza with friends, see the animal exhibits, watch the good natured town officials see if they can stay above the Dunking Tank and marvel at the entries for the Soapbox Derby. Everything for two days takes place in walking distance of each other lending further to its low key nature and warm appeal.
Many of us who enjoy this Town and it’s Old Home Day, did not grow up with its traditions. It’s our chance to step back in time and take our own children with us if only for two days.