August is the month when towns all over New Hampshire hold their Old Home Day festivals, featuring fair food, games, entertainment, and kid-friendly events. Saturday was the big day for Pembroke, south of Concord.
Pat Fowler is a life-long resident. She chairs the Old Home Day Parade committee. “At the end of the day, when I’m sitting back and watching all the families, watching the fireworks and the music’s on Main Stage, you just get that good feeling of family and friendship and community," Fowler says. "I think that’s what keeps me coming back.”
She's been involved with the Pembroke festival since it was reestablished in 1981.
The idea of an Old Home festival was the brainchild of Governor Frank West Collins in 1899. New Hampshire was in a slump, and many Granite Staters had moved West after the Civil War, further sapping the economy. Collins wanted to lure them back to their “Old Home” by playing up New Hampshire’s traditions during a week-long, statewide festival. Over the years, Old Home Day died out in a number of towns—like Pembroke, Weare, and Stoddard—only to be revived decades later.