September 6, 1972, was the weekend of our first Homestead Festival. It was a pretty weekend, hot and the air was smoky from the Pork Producer’s outdoor grills at the square. Forty-eight years ago the town had no idea that this great community effort would go on for this long.
But, it did and here we are forty-eight and counting. Reunions, both family and class, draw people in from all over the country. We, who live here in Princeton year round, welcome them and look forward to renewing friendships and catching up on old times year after year... memories and more memories.
One of the things I remember is the year a few of us participated in the bed races. The event was held behind Nelson’s Drug store one year and Alexander Park another. We were a team of five, dressed appropriately in pajamas and night shirts. Four of us pushed the old iron bed and one got to ride on the bed. I would like to tell you that even though we ran our hearts out, we lost to the hospital or maybe it was the bank, it doesn’t matter, we laughed a lot. Actually, it was hysterical.
Another memory is with my bell choir. Most of us were members of the Methodist Church and our bell choir was(and still is) the Elm City Belles. We rode on the back of a big semi truck flat bed. Anyone who walks or rides in the parade lines up early on the north end of town around LaSalle Street. We found our spot and fell in line right behind the jolly group from Verucchi’s Ristsorante. Although the parade began at one, we were in line by eleven. By the time we began to finally move, the Verucchi gang had entertained us with music and song for two hours. Verucchi’s and the bells were well acquainted by then. Who said we Methodist couldn’t have fun?!
One year the J.C. wives decided to have a fund raiser by selling caramel apples. It was near ninety degrees and you can imagine what happened to those apples. The apples turned out to be a sticky, gooey mess. So after wandering Main street, with our apples, that nobody bought, we abandoned the plan and headed for the Covenant Children’s Home where we delivered dozens of our apples for the kids to enjoy.
I could go on and on but I’m sure you have your own memories. This wonderful community we call home is the epitome of small town living!
Forty-eight and counting…Home sweet home…Betty