In Candia, argument brews over Old Home and Down Home event cancellations
CANDIA — With no Old Home Day scheduled this year and Down Home Day events — scheduled for Sept. 13 and 14 — recently canceled, town officials and some residents are arguing over what is behind the cancellations.
The chairman of the Select Board and Old Home Day committee, Fred Kelley, said that he only canceled Old Home Day this year after being asked to do so by the town’s 250th anniversary committee, and that he had nothing to do with the cancellation of Down Home Day.
“Rumors started that I was stopping it, that’s not true; I didn’t have the Old Home Day because the (250th anniversary) committee asked me not to have it,” Kelley said. “Well, some people in this town went and decided they were going to put on their own Old Home Day, and I said (you can’t use the same name). Well, they didn’t want to listen to me, and then it got canceled anyway.”
Jody Henderson, owner of Henderson’s Pickin’ Parlor, said he tried to put on Down Home Day but canceled the event after running into resistance from the town.
Hendrickson said Down Home Day was designed to be part of the events celebrating Candia’s 250th anniversary.
Henderson said Down Home Day would have had vendors, carnival rides and live music, and would have taken place this past Friday and Saturday at the Candia Youth Athletic Association field.
“We were going to hold it on private land, I had some really good bands coming in, there was going to be a carnival, food, lots of vendors, hot air balloons and a parade. But the town fought me on it and I ended up canceling it,” Henderson said.
Kelley disagreed, saying, “Mr. Henderson did not bring any proposal to the selectmen, he had no plan, the only thing he said he wanted to have was a parade and the police wouldn’t issue him a permit.”
Among the issues Henderson said he had to deal with while planning the event was the availability of police officers due to other town events scheduled for that day.
While no other events celebrating the 250th anniversary were planned for this past weekend, the town did have a Household Hazardous Waste Day scheduled for Sept. 14.
Henderson added that while a lot of people in town were excited for Down Home Day, town officials, “made sure enough in town was going on that I couldn’t follow through with this.”
Kelley was adamant that all he did was insist that Henderson not use the Old Home Day name for his event, and that he only canceled Old Home Day because he was asked.
“As far as Old Home Day, I apologize to anyone in town that said I did something wrong. I did what the (250th anniversary) committee asked me to do. I’m upset about it. I just walked into a restaurant in town and got slammed by 10 or 12 people, asking me why there is no Old Home Day, and I had to explain myself. It wasn’t my fault, I did what I was asked to do,” he said.
Kelley added, “Old Home Day will be back in 2014.”
Other events scheduled for the celebration of the town’s 250th anniversary include Celebrate Candia Day on Sept. 21, a 19th century-style worship service at the Candia Congressional Church on Sept. 22, a Deerfield Town Forest Walk on Sept. 22, a colonial fair from Oct. 18-20, a Fitts Museum opening and fall harvest dance on Oct. 19, Incorporation Day on Dec. 13, and a “Lights on the Hill” event on Dec. 14 and 15.