October 20, 2021

A get-together in Groton

Community turns out for annual Olde Home Days

Valerie Puma/staff reporter

Parents wait nearby as their children ride the carousel Saturday at the annual Groton Olde Home Days festival

GROTON — The whizzing of carnival rides, the hum of dirt bike engines and country music sounded Saturday across Main Street in Groton. Families were lured by the aroma of funnel cake and chicken barbecues and the promise of a good time.

Visitors and Groton residents alike poured into the downtown area for annual Groton Olde Home Days activities.

Natives to the area, Lisa Brehm and Katy Brockway have attended the annual Olde Home Days festival for most of their lives.

Now, they bring their own kids to enjoy the tradition.

“I want our kids to have what we grew up with,” Brehm said.

Now, both families participate in the festival, whether it’s selling at the craft-and -collectible show or performing on stage, or trying out every rollercoaster possible.

“My husband runs the Groton youth football booths and my brother plays his guitar later in the evening,” Brockway said. “But my kids’ favorite part is definitely the carnival rides.”

“We didn’t have the carnival when we were growing up,” Brehm added. “I think this is a new thing within the last 10 years.”

For these two moms, their favorite part has always been the grand parade.

This year, there were more vehicles signed up for the parade than the Olde Home Days has seen in the past decade.

“I love the parade, my kids love the parade — they’re actually usually in it,” Brehm said. “We bought candy for them to throw to the crowd.”

In the crowd Saturday evening, the Schwartzott family was enjoying their first Groton Olde Home Days experience.

“Our goal was to see a real country, small town fair,” said Peter Schwartzott. He’s lived in Dryden for the past 20 years but never made it out to the festival.

This weekend, his daughter and grandkids visited from Westchester, and he decided the festival was a great way to spend time with the family.

“I think everybody is tired of being indoors,” said his daughter, Gretel Schwartzott, of Scarsdale. “We visited the 4-H clubs, and I’m hoping for even more animals and agricultural events. We’ve been = looking forward to some of the more cultural events — the culture of this town.”

The Groton Historical Society building opened its museum to the public to showcase the town’s history.

“Groton is a small community that is very welcoming. Groton Olde Home Days is very much a hometown festival,” said Christine Brown, co-organizer of the event. “It’s about bringing the community back together.”