Friday, September 3, 2004
Selectmen revisit Old Home Day Look forward to Carlisle's 200th birthday party
"It was a well run, well attended effort," said Selectman Chair Tim Hult as the Board reviewed the July 4th Old Home Day (OHD) celebrations with OHD Chair David Reed on August 10. "The weather was there for us; everything seemed to go smoothly," agreed Reed.
Reed noted that $2,000 was raised to offset expenses. The balloon rides and soap box event were new and very successful. The fair has grown with thirty-eight booths when "there's really only room for twenty." Growth of the event is a concern, particularly as Carlisle looks forward to its 200th birthday next year. One suggestion is to move the barbecue and cake walk to Spalding field or the plaza.
DTC controversy revisited
Last June a controversy arose when the Democratic Town Committee (DTC) asked to take part in the parade and booths. However, after Reed had suggested cancelling OHD to avoid making the event political, the DTC had backed off, but asked for future reconsideration.
Hult asked if the issue had been settled, adding, "I appreciated the event as non-partisan What we have works." Selectman John Ballantine, however, noted there may be a legal issue with refusing a political group, and said, "I would hope we would consider including them in future in the spirit of fun. Let's approach it in a light-hearted way. That's the way I'd like to see it done."
Cynthia Schweppe of the DTC offered, "I love Old Home Day and I wanted the Democratic Town Committee to have a booth and march in the parade. The talk of cancellation made me very sad." Reading a section of the Declaration of Independence, she added, "I'd like to see more declaration of independence around Old Home Day. I think Old Home Day should invite everyone in. . . We should encourage political expression and civic participation. Reed countered that while political activity is appropriate in some venues, "Old Home Day is not that. Nothing weds us to the Fourth or Independence Day," he added, noting that historically OHDs were often in September. "We don't have the right to change traditions."
Selectman Doug Stevenson noted that as a candidate for state office he had seen how other towns handle the issue. Chelmsford, for example, encourages candidates. Stevenson and his family marched in their parade and, he recalled, "We enjoyed it very much." On the other hand, Concord discourages candidates at their picnic and April 19th events. He added, "I've always enjoyed Old Home Day as it is. [The issue is one] "we need to get cleaned up well in advance [of the 200th]."
Fireworks for the 200th?
Fireworks are being considered for the 200th. Fire Chief Dave Flannery has evaluated the requirements and "is excited about it." Reed noted that the Banta-Davis Field off Bedford Road is the perfect location from which to fire a mortar, with the town watching from Spalding Field. The cost is expected to be about $10,000. A considerable price break can be had if the date is not Fourth of July weekend. Selectman Chair Tim Hult suggested a fireworks hearing to include the community and abutters. Reed conceded that if abutters object, "that's a showstopper."
Hult concluded it had been "a good discussion, a good exchange of views."
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