Warwick’s roots on display at Old Home Days 

Fire engine sirens and flashing lights in the parade at the Warwick Old Home Days.

Fire engine sirens and flashing lights in the parade at the Warwick Old Home Days. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By AALIANNA MARIETTA

For the Recorder

Published: 08-24-2023 1:11 PM

WARWICK — Horses and fire trucks will line the town common for Old Home Days this Saturday and Sunday for a “heartwarming weekend” of activities and education on the town’s history, according to Warwick Historical Society member Clare Green.

The celebration started in the 1800s, but disappeared for many decades until it was revived in the 1990s by former Selectboard member Larry Carey. Since then, Old Home Days has been a staple of Warwick summers “because of that sense of place — people love to go back and visit,” explained Green. “It’s a New England tradition.”

“Over the past years, we’ve had people that have moved out of town and come back to reconnect with people, especially sometimes the older generations,” said Colleen Paul, Carey’s daughter who now runs the celebration as chairwoman of the Old Home Days Committee.

Like past years, a parade, tai chi demonstration, and tag sale on the town common will kick off the event on Saturday. But this year, at 1 p.m., the Community Garden at the Trinitarian Congregational Church will be dedicated to Virginia and Oliver Fellows. Oliver died last August.

“Oliver has been a very strong personality; you could count on him to do just about anything you needed help with,” Trinitarian Pastor Daniel Dibble said.

The couple opened the Chase Hill Family Farm in 1957. Dibble said customers from as far away as Boston traveled to Warwick to pick up the dairy farm’s raw milk before the Wells-Tolley family bought the business in 2017.

“It’s a very integral part of the community,” Dibble said.

He added that Virginia also collected free food for older residents through the Women’s Guild for decades. “She continued to be one of the principle volunteers, keeping things clean, keeping food fresh,” he recalled.

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Green emphasized that the purpose of Old Home Days runs deeper than its entertainment. It also spotlights Warwick’s history through the stories of residents like Oliver and Virginia. “People learn more about where they’re from and where they are,” Green said.

A. George Day Jr., who worked as the town’s clockwinder for 50 years, will share his knowledge on the Bell and Clock Tower in the Unitarian Meeting House through a video presentation on Saturday at 2 p.m. in Town Hall. The presentation will mark the fifth in a series of oral history panels under a library grant aimed to “capture oral history from people who have experienced things of the past from town,” Green explained. “We wanted to do the oral history panel because we realized a lot of our wonderful stories are aging out.”

In Old Home Days tradition, the “Corregatta” cardboard boat race will cap off the festivities on Sunday morning at Moores Pond. The free competition will be split into kids and adult categories. Green said the competition draws a large crowd with decorated boats. Rules and details are posted in the Town Hall and the Warwick Free Public Library.

For food, the Women’s Guild will be serving coffee and muffins downstairs in the Town Hall starting at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday. At noon, hamburgers will be provided at the Fire Department’s cookout before a ham and beans supper at 5:30 p.m. Supper proceeds benefit the Trinitarian Congregational Church of Warwick.

“We are appreciating our roots, whether we’ve only been there a few years or whether we’ve been there 90 years,” Green said. “It’s always good to pause and reflect on where you’ve come from.” Plus, “It’s just fun,” said Paul. “We’ve got a pretty jam-packed schedule this year.”

Saturday

Tag sale — all day

8:30 to 11:30 a.m. — Guild Cafe,” coffee and muffins downstairs in the Town Hall

10 a.m. — Parade, report to the Warwick Community School at 9 a.m. to join

10 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Open mic

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. — Climate crisis vigil

10 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Library open

10:30 a.m. — Tai chi demonstration

Noon — Fire Department cookout

1 p.m. — Community Garden dedication

2 p.m. — Oral history panel inside Town Hall

5:30 p.m. — Ham and beans supper on the common

7 p.m. — Kandie Carle’s performance as The Victorian Lady inside Town Hall, sponsored by Warwick Arts Council

Sunday

9:30 a.m. — Worship at Trinitarian Congregational Church

2:30 p.m. — Corregatta at Moores Pond beach