July marks the one hundredth anniversary of the first "Old Home Week" celebration. Over 12,000 guests, extended family members, and expatriates from across the country crowded the streets of our fair town for four days of revelry, parades, speeches, concerts, fireworks, and
games. The pages of the town paper for July 1909 were filled almost exclusively with news of this centennial community event.
All Roads Lead To Emmitsburg
During the four days of July - 13, 14, 15, 16 - everyone in Maryland will be turning towards Emmitsburg. The town will be full of homecomers who left here years ago to seek their fortunes in other places - men and women who, though they have made their homes elsewhere, have never
forgotten that their real home is Emmitsburg.
Apart from the pleasure which will be derived from the recounting of experiences, apart from the real joy that naturally follows when old friends meet again, there will be a number of attractions offered for the amusement of all who come.
There will be plenty of music every day and the baseball fans will have an opportunity to witness a game that will be long remembered. On the grounds, innumerable attractions will add to the entertainment of Emmitsburg's guests, and those who care to dance will find an excellent
new dancing floor built for the occasion and a good orchestra to furnish the music.
Parades will be the main feature of the celebration including uniformed organizations and various floats. The children will not be forgotten, as a children's carnival will be held. Their costumes will be unique.
All Ready For Old Home Week
Only a few more days until Emmitsburg's big week begins. By Monday all the arrangements will have been made and it will only need a match to set everything ablaze.
Tuesday, July 13, has been set apart as Reception Day, given over to welcoming former residents and visitors. Wednesday is Fireman's Fraternal Order and Veterans' Day. Here is where the big baseball game comes in between Frederick and Westminster. Before the game, the parade of
firemen, Fraternal Orders, uniformed organizations, and veterans will take place, dispersing at the grounds where the game will be played.
Civic Day comes next - Thursday, when the Governor, ex-governor and prominent visitors will grace the occasion. Friday, the last day, will be Reunion Day, a portion of which will be devoted to reminiscences and five-minute addresses by those who remember Emmitsburg in the
days of yore. Old and young will find something to delight them. While the gray-haired veteran is recounting events that happened years ago, happy children in carnival array will be indulging in innocent sports.
Old Home Week Exceeds Expectations
With its magnificent decorations, pennants, flags, and bunting, Emmitsburg did itself proud during Old Home Week. Arches, handsomely festooned with red, white, and blue greeted everyone who came to town from every direction. The streets were never so beautiful as they were
during these four days.
On Saturday, the guests began to arrive and each train brought its full quota of people eager to take part in the celebrations. The odor of fried chicken and broiled ham rose from every chimney.
Emmitsburg was wide open and ablaze with bunting; music could be heard at every corner, and throngs of happy visitors and proud hosts made the occasion one never to be forgotten.
Bouquets For Old Emmitsburg
Now that it is all over, retrospection is in order. Emmitsburg, if it were a town of 10,000 inhabitants would have been proud of the success of its Old Home Week celebration. At least 12,000 people were entertained during the four days. There were nineteen police officers on
hand in case of trouble, but because of the splendid conduct of the throngs, not a single arrest was made.
The celebration was a revelation to many of the possibilities of determined men working in concert for the attainment of a purpose. Emmitsburg has set the pace that will be hard to follow. Success followed our efforts because we made it follow. The zeal and determination of the
men and women behind this project demanded such a celebration and they got it. Their horizons were more distant than their nose. They were not dollar-scared nor were they extravagant. Their plans were well laid and the same skill was shown in carrying them out.
Editors note: Forty-three years would pass before Emmitsburg would play host to the its second 'Old Home Week' in 1951, an event that is now only a distant memory to a few, and unknown by many. As 2010 will mark the 225th
anniversary of the founding of Emmitsburg, might it be time to consider Emmitsburg once again play host to another 'Old Home Week?'
Read Prior '100 Years Ago this Month'
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