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Fireworks On The Deck
Saturday, August 2, 2014 from 7:30 PM - 9:45 PM
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Call the restaurant at 802-460-7676 and let us know what time you’d like to arrive. We’re taking reservations on the deck first come, first served, between 7:30 and 8:45pm. Please let the Popolo rep know you’ve purchased tickets for priority seating. Thanks!

I never heard of Old Home Day until I moved north in the nineties. In Rhode Island we had plenty of old houses, many of them notable colonial architecture and robber baron palaces, so it made sense that tourists came from around the world to look at them. I can sheepishly admit that I felt left out of the tour to see the old houses of Walpole until I learned Old Home Day wasn’t about old houses at all. It was about a pilgrimage that, like the annual trip of salmon upstream, out-of-towners made to the birthplace of their ancestors. That’s different.

The idea was hatched at the end of the 19th century by a New Hampshire fellow, Frank Rollins, who later became the state’s governor. Frank was horrified that these beautiful New England towns and their big starry skies, under which a young America had reached its adolescence, would be forgotten in the scramble for riches and opportunity found in the growing cities. So he founded a sort of homecoming festival.

In Rollins’ words, “it was hoped that some might come back to the old home to remain; that others might return for the reunion season, and perhaps choose here a spot on which the vacation home at least might be established.”

His idea caught on with gusto and within a decade each little rural town, recently emptied of residents, had a day for remembering. Speeches were given, parties were thrown. Entreaties were made that young and old alike would recall the simple human virtues of small-town life, here in the lap of a personalized and natural world. As an idea of homecoming, itwas so successful that today, more than century later, it’s still going on.

The jury’s still out on Rollins’ goal of bringing the flock back to the pasture. The influx of new residents over the last twenty years in places like Bellows Falls and Putney and Walpole may not be comprised of descendants of those towns’ founders. Nevertheless, many are people like me who perhaps grew weary of the scramble for the sophistry of urban opportunity. As Rollins reminded us, we have opportunities of our own.

Here’s one: on Saturday, August 2nd, Popolo serves dinner and drinks on the deck and, sometime around 9:00pm, the fireworks begin over the river. Tickets get you a seat at the party and seating is limited to the first fifty guests. When you purchase your ticket we’ll send you an exclusive parking pass, suitable for framing, that gets you and your fellow pilgrims through the blockaded checkpoint at the edge of town.

Tickets are $5.00 Per Person with a $20 dinner minimum and are available at the top of this page or by calling the restaurant at 802.460.7676. If it rains we’ll serve inside and apply your $5.00 ticket price against the cost of your dinner. We’ll include all instructions in the email with your parking pass.

An evening of special privilege awaits. You see, as Americans, we’re all descendants of these little New England towns. We can all feel that sense of homecoming for a night as we celebrate some simple human virtues under a big starry sky on the deck beside the canal. Rollins would be proud.

PS: If your ancestors are indeed from here and you’d like to come from out of town, I’m sure you can find rooms at one of the lodging establishments listed here.


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Italian-inspired, farm-to-table cuisine
Popolo Means People