1901 Old Home Days tradition continues in Sherman

11 months ago

SHERMAN, Maine — Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end of summer and the annual Old Home Days in Sherman. 

The tradition of gathering for summer’s last hurrah with friends and family for parades, games, hearty dinners, pageants, auctions and fireworks has been going on in Sherman for at least 85 years, said event organizer Steven Lane. 

And like most years, generations of families are busy preparing for the upcoming event that runs from Friday, Sept. 1, through Monday, Sept. 4. This year, bingo and the pageant are back, he said.

The Old Home Days tradition traces back to the late 1890s and Frank Rollins, a New Hampshire businessman concerned about an increasing number of families leaving the family homestead for adventurous journeys across the nation. In 1899 Rollins’ idea of calling people back home caught on with 44 Old Home Days events in New Hampshire that year. By 1901, returning home events spread to Maine and Vermont and eventually the rest of the country. 

This is Veronica Elwell’s fourth year organizing the kids games that will take place on Monday and she hasn’t lost her enthusiasm for the kids and the hope that everyone wins. Set up in an arcade style, the most popular games are the Wheel of Prizes and Plinko, like the game on The Price is Right, she said.  

There’s also a Mystery Box game where each player gets a key to unlock the box for a prize. 

At 50 cents a game, kids play to win a prize and also get a ticket in the new bike drawing, she said. The proceeds from the kids games are donated to Waiting Whiskers, an animal shelter planned for Sherman.

On Saturday there’s a cancer walk, the annual Vicky Tozier-Perz Memorial Poker Run starting at 10 a.m. at the Masonic Hall, a book sale and fireworks at 9 p.m.

The popular lobster dinner is at noon Sunday.

You get a lobster, corn, cole slaw, potato drink and dessert for $25, said Beverly Lane, secretary of the Katahdin Valley Wheelers. The four-wheeler club will cook the dinners on Sunday. 

Organizer Steven Lane said they will have about 100 lobsters ordered.

Also on Sunday is the annual Old Home Days Pageant at the Sherman Recreation Center. Seventeen girls from ages 2 to 12 will compete for the title of Miss Sherman Old Home Days. Right now, pageant organizers are looking for stage lighting and a fog or bubble machine to make sure the event is something the girls will always remember.

Slated for Monday at 10 a.m., the ever popular parade will have about 15 to 20 floats decorated with this year’s Don’t Rain on My Parade theme, Lane said.