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In Newbury, Old Home Day promises to be a blast

  • Children from Live Wire Daycare and Preschool in Bradford hold up their art creations in front of the Newbury Public Library. Both adult and children’s art will be on display at the Newbury Old Home Day art exhibit Saturday. Proceeds from the sale of the children’s art will be donated to the daycare. Courtesy

  • Children from Live Wire Daycare and Preschool in Bradford hold up their art creations in front of the Newbury Public Library. Both adult and children’s art will be on display at the Newbury Old Home Day art exhibit Saturday. Proceeds from the sale of the children’s art will be donated to the daycare. Courtesy

  • Newbury Old Home Day fireworks are seen over the Lake Sunapee in 2014. Courtesy



Monitor staff
Wednesday, July 11, 2018

In Newbury, Old Home Day is about far more than just fireworks.

But with a billing like “biggest fireworks display on Lake Sunapee,” it’s no wonder the grand finale of the town’s annual celebration perennially draws the biggest crowd.

And helping that draw, said Newbury Parks and Recreation Director and Old Home Day organizer Rosie Johnson, is the fact that the town’s fireworks show is held more than a week after the Fourth of July, when the final embers of shows in neighboring Sunapee and New London have long since burnt out.

“It kind of keeps the holiday going a little longer and that feel of summer and celebration and the lake,” said Johnson, adding that it’s not uncommon to see residents of neighboring towns – and beyond – mixed among the spectators. “It’s very, very popular. People come from all over so they’re a big draw, that’s for sure.”

Newbury Old Home Day kicks off Saturday morning with various activities and performances beginning at 9 a.m., and wraps up with those highly-anticipated fireworks at dusk.

This year’s fireworks show comes with a little extra bang for the buck as well, as a malfunction during last year’s show has the town poised for an even bigger display this year.

Town administrator Dennis Pavlicek said a brief rain shower moved in on the afternoon of last year’s show, just as Atlas PyroVision had finished wiring up their shells on a barge in the middle of the harbor. Pavlicek said workers were unable to cover the fireworks in time, and as a result, between 80 and 90 shells failed to explode during the show.

“We chatted with (Atlas) right after it happened last year, because obviously we could tell that the grand finale wasn’t quite as good as it had been in the past,” Pavlicek said. “So they said, ‘Well, we’ll make it up to you this year.’ So we’re expecting a good show. But we always have a good show.”

Pavlicek said Atlas is giving the town a roughly $6,000 credit toward this year’s show, which will be used on top of about $15,000 dedicated to the show from the town’s parks and recreation budget.

But fireworks make up only a fraction of the day’s scheduled activities, with various performances and events set to take place hourly until dusk.

Administrative assistant and Old Home Day organizer Pam Bryk said the event has only grown in its 13-year existence, turning into a full-day affair drawing well over 1,000 spectators.

“It’s definitely grown and we’ve done a lot of changes, too, over the years,” Bryk said. “They used to do like a pork roast dinner, but now we bring in food trucks, so there’s a much bigger variety and something for everyone. And we have a lot more shows throughout the day because we want to keep people here all day.”

Among the day’s various performers are Faneuil Hall regulars The Red Trousers and Alakazam, who will bring their acrobatic and high-energy shows from Boston all the way to Newbury Harbor at noon and 6 p.m., respectively. And don’t forget Living on a Bad Name, the Bon Jovi tribute band set to take the stage at 7:30 p.m. Activities include a puppy kissing booth, boat and train rides, rock climbing and face painting, as well as free admission to The Fells, and a limited number of $5 aerial ride passes at Mount Sunapee Resort.

Over at the library, a book sale will be held from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., to benefit the Friends of the Newbury Public Library, while an art show at the nearby Town Office Meeting Room will feature various local artwork including a special display created by area children – proceeds from the sale of children’s art will benefit the Live Wire Daycare and Preschool in Bradford.

“It’s really a family fun day and everything’s free,” Bryk said. “It’s just a nice way to bring everybody together to enjoy Newbury and everything we have to offer.”

Bryk said she hopes people will take advantage of the day’s full schedule of activities and performances, and spend as much time at the harbor as possible. But no matter what the day brings, Bryk said she can always count on a large crowd along the shoreline come dusk.

“It’s the biggest fireworks show on Lake Sunapee, so it will be packed,” Bryk said.