August 23, 2010
Groton celebrates its heritage
Village hosts annual Olde Home Days event over the weekend
GROTON — Keith Pitcher put his hand on his grandson’s shoulder as the boy steadied the assault rifle and inspected it closely.
From up close, the gun, an M-4 carbine, looked exactly like the toy gun his grandson had just purchased, said Pitcher, but this one was different. The gun was real.
Pitcher and his grandson, Josh Dobush, 8, attended this year’s Groton Olde Home Days, a community event in the village of Groton, held on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
This year, similar to past years, the Groton Olde Home Days included contests, vendors, a parade, carnival rides, a bird show and a display by the National Guard.
The National Guard display caught the attention of Dobush.
“I just wanted to check out the truck,” said Dobush, who led his grandfather over to the National Guard Humvee to take a look, but once there, they were encouraged by the National Guard members to look at and hold the M-4 carbine and the 9mm Beretta pistol.
National Guard members told Dobush the guns were being used by the American military serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The National Guard allows children to look at unloaded weaponry, said Sgt. Daniel Ransier, one of the guardsmen who explained the equipment at the exhibit.
Ransier said children like looking at the military equipment because it gives them real-life versions of video games depicting war.
Diana Mackenzie, chair of the Groton Olde Home Days committee, said the event cost about $10,000 this year.
Organizers raised about half that amount and will hold fundraisers and continue to seek donations to pay for the fireworks, shows and portable bathrooms,
Mackenzie said she did not know how many people attended the three-day event, but said she noticed more people at this year’s event than last year.
Jodi Metcalf, owner of Bun Appetit Bakery, and one of the organizers of the Groton Olde Home Days, said the event has been around for 76 years and the event’s mission is always the same.
“It’s a community working together,” she said.
Metcalf said she allowed cheerleaders from Groton High School and members of the Groton Fire Department to use the Bun Appetit parking lot for fundraising events.
Metcalf also hosted a pie contest.
Elsie Montgomery won the pie contest with her Margarita Pie. Her recipe included tequila, orange liqueur, whipped cream, lime and orange zest, lime concentrate, whipped heavy cream, graham crackers and condensed milk in a pretzel crust.
“It’s a summer pie,” she said.
Chris Dempsey, owner of Robert C. Dempsey Insurance Agency, said he had two bands play in front of his business on Friday. He also had Beyond the Veil, a Christian band from Maryland, play on Sunday.
“We just like giving back to the community,” Dempsey said. He said he had booked the same bands to perform in front of his business next year.
The Raptor Project, a traveling bird show, included several birds, such as falcons, owls and one eagle. Spectators learned facts about the birds. For example, the burrowing owl, native to North America and South America, will imitate the rattling sound of a rattlesnake if it feels it is in immediate danger.
The eagle can put pressure of about 2,000 pounds per square inch on a surface and can spot prey about 2 miles away, Jonathan Wood said.
During the show, Wood called on Jacey Hatfield, a girl in the audience, to stand next to an owl, the eagle owl.
“It felt like a soft pillow,” she said after her pose with the bird.
Mackenzie said the celebration was a success.
“I just thought it was a great turnout,” said Mackenzie. “I just think it was a great overall thing.”
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