Meadville Tribune


July 9, 2014

Once-small Townville Old Home Days now a summertime staple

TOWNVILLE — Frog jumping, outhouse racing and beauty queens are just a few of the events in store for participants of what has become a Crawford County summertime tradition: Townville Old Home Days.

For 45 years Townville has been holding Old Home Days, which have grown from a couple of booths as a Cub Scout fundraiser to an action-packed, family-friendly, fun-filled two-day festival.

Garold Molli, Old Home Days co-chair, has been organizing the weekend of fun since the beginning.

Molli has been organizing the weekend of fun since the beginning.

Molli recalled how the festival began when the Townville Cub Scout pack wanted to host a fundraiser, and the newly-formed Townville Ambulance Service participated.

“It started out really small,” Molli said.

Now, more than 60 booths are available with no duplications, Molli said. For example, if there is already a hot dog vendor, interested vendors must offer something else to participate.

Among the big food sellers in the past is the ox roast booth, which also offers 180 homemade pies provided by Townville-area women.

Doreen Rumzie, Molli’s co-chair, likes how the ox roast is still served in the circus tent that was donated during the inaugural Old Home Days.

Food aside, there is plenty to do and see — whether it is games, competitions or exhibits — at this year’s festival, which has the theme “Down These Country Roads.”

In a change from years past, the frog jumping contest is now Saturday at 5 p.m. That’s an improved time according to Molli, who said in the past the frog jump was on Friday afternoon. Many people were getting out of work at the time, so a change was made, Molli said.

Several new events are being featured this year, such as the Drake Well Mobile Energy Education Training Unit (MEET-U) on Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday has the car cruise-in, which makes a return after a few-year hiatus, and the first ever outhouse races.

The outhouse races scheduled on Saturday have created a local buzz over the past week. Molli said many people are talking about the inaugural races and are making plans to watch or participate.

“We hope that will catch on,” Molli said.

The Old Home Days coloring contest continues this year. Pictures are available at Hanna’s Hardware in Townville and need to be returned by Thursday at 6 p.m. The contest is for ages 3 to 12. Winners and prizes are announced during the two-day festival.

One aspect which has Molli excited is the constant live entertainment. Eight local bands perform from opening until closing both days of the festival. For Molli this is a win-win situation, as he gives local acts a venue and the event doesn’t experience thinning crowds due to lack of live entertainment on stage.

Along from the Drake Well exhibit, Friday night will see the pageant queen be crowned in the auditorium. There will be bingo in the cafeteria and performances by the Dixie Doodlers or Shades of Time.

Saturday starts with a 5k race at 8 a.m., with registration starting at 7:30, then the parade up Main Street is at 10:30 with lineup at 9:30. Firemen’s water battles begin at 1 p.m., with the outhouse races taking off at 2 p.m.

For those with a competitive streak, there is a corn hole and horseshoe pitching tournament. The more athletic may want to check out the volleyball tournament.

If you just want to relax, there is a free mule-drawn wagon ride, play bingo or be a spectator at the fire department water battles.

Doreen Rumzie has been involved with the planning committee for 33 years, and if asked to sum up Old Home Days in one word, she would probably say “community.”

“I think the whole thing is nice; we couldn’t do it without the community,” Rumzie said. “It’s successful, it’s a good place for the community to get together and it supports the fire department.”

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