By Rob Montana
When Christine Brown-Personius was growing up in Groton during the ‘90s, her parents spearheaded organizing the community’s annual summer celebration – Olde Home Days.
Now, 20 years later, she’s at the helm, along with “partner in crime,” Flo Allen. This year’s edition of Olde Home Days will take place Thursday, August 24, through Saturday, August 26.
“When I was a teenager, my parents ran Olde Home Days for eight years, and it was really great,” said Brown-Personius. “I thought if my parents could do this back then, we could do it now.
“My dad said ‘It’s a lot of work, it’s like a full-time job’ and it is,” she added.
Brown-Personius said she’s tackling the event planning portion of organizing, while Allen’s role is the financial one.
“She’s running the checkbook,” said Brown-Personius. “She’s keeping me in check with the money in the budget.”
One big change this year is a return to three days of events.
“It has been down to two days the last five years, to only Friday and Saturday, this year we’re bringing back Thursday,” said Brown-Personius. “It’s also been about five years since we had a full carnival. This year, Playland Amusements is coming in for three days, so there will be a whole midway with games, rides, and classic carnival food.
“I know they’re bringing in a fun house, Ferris wheel and merry-go-round,” she added. “Everyone’s pretty excited about that.”
On Thursday and Friday, the midway will open at 6 p.m., while it will open at noon on Saturday.
Another new addition this year is the inclusion of Shadows of the Old West, a group of individuals portraying the period of Westward movement during the mid- to late-1800s. People will be able to get a first-hand look at the evolution from early tent towns to the first Western settlements.
“We haven’t had a free family show in a couple of years, and this will be completely free,” said Brown-Personius. “Everyone will be able to walk through and see how people lived, learn about the cowboy way of life. They will even be cooking food on campfires and singing songs from that time.”
Among the other new features this year will be the Binghamton Ross Park Zoo’s Zoomobile will be on hand, Cornell’s Raptor Program will be represented, the Silly Lilly puppet show, the Ithaca Physics Bus and Cornell’s Big Red Bear mascot will attend the festivities.
Returning favorites for the weekend are local bands – organized by the Groton American Legion – food from Foggy Bog Hunting Camp and the Groton Fire Department, and local businesses offering sidewalk sales.
“Sir James the Balloon Artist is coming back; he’s here every year,” said Brown-Personius. “The Groton Historical Society will have their crafting collectible show, and this is the 47th year of the art show. That is normally inside the bank, but this year it will be inside the Groton Legion.”
Other attractions that will be part of Olde Home Days include Jump Around Inflatables, the Game Truck, Justin Wood Strolling Entertainment, laser tag, Hula Hut Polynesian Dance, pony rides and a petting zoo.
The free music lineup includes:
— Thursday, August 24 – from 6:30-9 p.m., Olde Timers Band, Groton American Legion
— Friday, August 25 – at 7 p.m., Vitamin L, Conger Boulevard
— Friday, August 25 – from 8:30-11:30 p.m., Marty Flynn and the Goodtime Band, Groton American Legion
— Saturday, August 26 – from 3-5 p.m., Logan & Mack 2nd Chance Band, Groton American Legion
— Saturday, August 26 – from 8:30-11:30 p.m., Bendher Band, Groton American Legion
The Groton Olde Home Days Grand Parade will take place at 6 p.m. Saturday, August 26.
“We will have free family-friendly shows and entertainment all three days of the festival,” said Brown-Personius. “This year’s festival will have something for everyone.”