Old Home Days Rocks Hudson

August 22, 2014

by Tom Tollefson

Four jam-packed days of live music, entertaining dances, cool trucks and spooky kids; all of that makes Old Home Days irresistible to all ages.

Day 1:  Thursday – A Spooky Kick-off

The first day of Old Home Days, Hudson’s annual end-of-summer event, kicked off with trick or treating for the children, and karaoke and live music for the adults.

On Thursday, children bit into an early taste of Halloween as they had a chance to dress up in their favorite costume and trick or treat at the 67 vendors.  The Halloween preview was followed by a children’s costume parade, much to the excitement of the parents who stood on the side with cameras in hand.  This was the third year for the early Halloween event at Old Home Days.

Rory Chamberlin, Marketing Associate at Chamberlin Electric said about the “spooktacular” event:  “It’s a different twist and it brings a lot more people out.  You can get to see a lot more faces.”

Parents also enjoyed watching their youngsters scamper from vendor to vendor as they collected their favorite sugary treats.

“I think the Halloween event is spectacular.  It gives kids of all ages an opportunity to enjoy Old Home Days,” said Kim Buccarelli, who brought her two children and nieces and nephews.

Allie Silva, owner of a women’s fitness center in Hudson called Flock Together said the turnout was “fantastic” as children “flocked” to her table for candy as well as the stickers she handed out all weekend.  Silva went through three bowls of candy over the course of the hour-long trick or treat fest.

Later in the evening, the Dueling Murphys performed pop and rock cover classics such as “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey.  The group performed using vocals and electronic pianos and also took requests from the audience.  This group consisted of the husband-and-wife duo of Heather and Larry Maconaghy.

“Everybody’s having a great time and we’re so happy with the weather,” said Larry Maconaghy.

The weekend was made possible by the Old Home Days Committee and the following sponsors across town:  Atlas Fireworks, Fairview Healthcare, Charles Schwab (Nashua), Columbus Dental, the Nash Foundation, the Town of Hudson, Continental Paving Inc., Eastern Propane and Oil, Collins Dentistry for Children, Benson’s Bakery, TD Bank, Greater Hudson Chamber o Commerce, the Hudson Mall, Hurd Electric, Perfect Entertainment, Regan Clothier Ltd., Service Credit Union, Kohl’s, Pinard Waste Systems, Financial Insurance Services, Sousa Realty and Development, Red Brick Clothing, T-BONES of Hudson, TJ Malley Electric, The Telegraph, Sullivan Tire, Digital Federal Credit Union, and State Farm Insurance, Denise McCarthy.

Day 2:  Friday – And Music Filled the Air

Friday was another music-filled evening at Old Home Days.  One of the musical highlights was a live performance from the five-piece rock band Figure 8.  The band was sponsored by Fairview Healthcare and performed covers of rock songs from the last few decades such as “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd and the more recent “It Started with a Whisper” by the Neon Trees.  The crowd enjoyed the good mix of familiar songs from the ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s and today.

“They seem to be quite diversified with the amount of instruments they have there,” said audience member Dave Gravelle.

This was the third straight year the hometown band, made up of recent Alvirne Alumni, played at the end-of-summer festival.  The band is made up of the following members as listed on their Facebook page:

Chase Clark – lead guitar/lead vocals; Vincent (Vinny) Dupont – bass/back vocals; Eric Dupont – drums/back vocals; Steve Caporale – sax; Cody Knapp – trumpet/guitar/vocals; and Tim Duffy – keyboard.

“It’s always great to play in front of the home crowd, which responds well and it was a great turnout,” said trumpeter, guitarist, and vocalist Cody Knapp.

The festival even drew an international crowd.  Hudson born and bred Sari Cavanna (Grossman was her maiden name) was in town visiting from Zurich, Switzerland and brought her husband Laurent Cavanna and sons Lois and Jacques.

“It was great to see family and friends that I grew up with at Old Home Days,” the Hudson native said as she admitted to feeling the nostalgia of the weekend since much of the festival was still the same as she remembered growing up with rides and fried dough.

After the balloon rides and music, many of the residents went over to the Stonyfield booth for free yogurt.

“We were giving out our yogurt and we thought the Zach Attack Race demographic would be perfect to market our product.  As a Hudson resident, I love being able to show our product to our town,” said Stonyfield Event Marketing Representative Brianna Knap.

Day 3:  Saturday – Busy, Busy, Busy

Saturday is always the busiest day of the weekend for Old Home Days.  As usual, it was the most eventful day of the festival packed with live music, kids’ games, a chili cook-off, touch a truck event, and of course everyone’s favorite Old Home Day tradition … fireworks at 9 p.m.

Dozens of parents and children flocked to the Touch a Truck event sponsored by Continental Paving Inc.  Several trucks were on display including a police crime scene truck, grader, school bus, National Guard resupply vehicle, up armor humvee, tractor, the town’s first mail truck, and a 1950 Dodge with a flat bed owned by the Hudson Historical Society.

Children enjoyed sitting on their parents’ laps as they honked the horns in the various trucks and the sirens in the Hudson Police crime scene vehicle.

“He loves it every year and looks forward to it,” Mark Gouveia said about his son Kyle’s love for the “hands on” truck show.

Another favorite for the pint-sized residents were the children’s games sponsored by Collins Dentistry for Children and Digital Federal Credit Union.  The games included bean bag toss, hula hoop contest, parachute games, and small pin bowling.  Prizes included toys such as bouncy balls and fake money much to the delight of the competitors.

“I like how the volunteers are interacting and adjusting the games for the different ages,” father Jeff Cote said as he watched his daughter bowl.

While the children enjoyed the games, the adults were excited about the music.  The country band called Walkin’ the Line, the cover band Rock Daddys, and the middle school band Silent Fist performed throughout the day.  Residents relaxed under the tent as they ate and socialized with their friends around town.  Many stated that they enjoyed the “rhythm,” “beat,” and “diversity” of the music by Rock Daddys.

“I like that they’re not too loud so you can still talk and socialize,” Hudson resident Brandon Locke said as he ate with friends.

Another major music act of the day was an up-and-coming band Silent Fist.  The members may have not been old enough to drive cars, but they drove the crowds wild with their own brand of rock cover songs such as Imagine Dragons’ “Demons,” Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” and Stevie Wonder’s classic hit “Superstition.”  This weekend, the band was sponsored by Red Brick Clothing and Columbia Dental Care.

“It was exciting and a lot of my friends were here.  I never thought we’d play at Old Home Days,” said Silent Fist lead singer Murray Reynolds.

As they started playing, the socializing in the tent slowed down and all eyes and ears were on the middle schoolers.  The crowd was engaged, and the group even had people jumping in their seats every time they said “jump” in their cover of “Jump” by Van Halen.

“They’re great.  They’re very spirited and so happy go lucky.  They look like they’re having a great time,” said audience member Donna Hughes.

Silent Fist has been around for about a year and a half and took second place for junior band in the New England Music Festival in Newton, Mass.

The country music cover band Walkin’ the Line, sponsored by Fairview Health Care, also put on a live show.

“The place is busy, the weather is great, people are friendly, and people here are drawn to country music,” said Walkin’ the Line lead singer Kevin White.

Another vendor with a worthy cause was Shane’s Anti-Bullying Program, which is a non-profit program started by a 16-year-old student named Shane Graham-Bevis from Lowell, Mass., who was violently bullied in middle school.  Shane now travels to colleges and schools to raise awareness about the damaging affects of bullying.  Over the weekend, Shane and his mother, Summer Graham, sold T-shirts, bracelets, posters, and jewelry that had anti-bullying messages and gave out free informational packets about bullying and its effects.

Day 4:  Sunday – Showcasing Talented Singers and Dancers

The four-day end-of-summer extravaganza finished with a bevy of activities on Sunday.  The finalists for the “Voice of Hudson” singing competition emerged after two previous nights of karaoke.  The judges admitted it was “tough competition,” but three winners emerged after the final round on Sunday.  There were three winners, one from each age group.  Michaela Short won for the 13 and under group, McKenzie Catanzaro for the 14-17, and Maria McManus for the adults.  This was the first year the competition was open to adults.

“It was really fun.  I could barely sleep last night because I couldn’t wait for this day to come,” said Michaela Short after winning first place and stating she “wasn’t nervous.”

Also among the top finishers in the competition was adult second-place finisher Alan St. Louis, who holds the world record for most times singing the national anthem over the course of a year at 217.

“I sing a cappella so it’s stepping outside of my box, but it was fun,” St Louis said.

The singing competition was judged by Chairman of the Hudson Board of Selectmen Roger Coutu; Hudson Memorial Principal Keith Bowen; and Renee Gregoire, one of the staff at Old Home Days.  The winners of each age group were awarded cash prizes:  $200 for first place, $50 for second, and $25 for third.

While Hudson’s best vocalists sang their hearts out, residents were amazed by the dancing skills in the other tent across the field.  Here local dance groups came out to showcase their best moves.  WPI Ballroom, and Paper Moon Dance Center students demonstrated various dances such as the cha cha, rumba, bolero, fox trot, tango, waltz, and salsa just to name a few.

“I think it was well received.  It was a fun showcase of dance.  A lot of people see Dancing with the Stars, so it’s fun to let them know about local opportunities to get involved with dance,” said Scott Bergendahl, a student at Paper Moon Dance Center.

Local political candidates also joined the weekend festivities to mix and mingle among the townspeople and share their views and values.  Hudson’s own Jim Lawrence was in the mix of political candidates at Old Home Days.  Jim Lawrence is currently running for Congress.

“I’ve come to Old Home Days every year and it’s great like every other year.  There was a lot of great family fun and it was good to see a lot of neighbors and friends,” Lawrence said about his weekend at Old Home Days.