HISTORY OF OLD HOME WEEK
Woodstock’s first Old Home Week was held in 1948 during the last week of August. The idea was conceived by Mr. Fred O. Creighton, a Charter Member of the Woodstock Rotary Club, a past Mayor of the Town of Woodstock and Old Home Week’s first President. Enthusiasm was shared by the Rotary Club and with Mr. Creighton’s leadership and the Club’s help, it was successful and continues to be.
The Rotary Club operated Old Home Week for a period of two years, at which time it had grown to such proportions that it was too great a load for one club to handle. The organization was enlarged to include representatives and helpers from the Royal Canadian Legion, Y’s Men, Elks, Lions as well as many interested individuals, and has operated in this manner since that time.
The Parade of the first “Week” was without doubt the best held in Woodstock for many years, partly due to the fact that there had not been an opportunity for such a community project since before Second World War, local and area clubs, businesses and individuals did not spare themselves with floats and displays. The following year the dates of the Week were changed and it was held the last few days of July and the first few days of August until 1974 when the dates were set ahead on week to the last week of July.
The first year Bill Lynch’s Big Carnival set up on the Island Park and provided the thrills associated with the midway. The Bill Lynch Carnival continued to come to Woodstock for a few years and then a change was made to King Reid Shows. This association continued up to the close of Old Home Week 1974 when the Bill Lynch Shows returned and agreed to provide the midway until 1980.
Beauty Contests have been held every year, but have undergone many changes. The first few years it was mainly a fashion show with a few entrants competing for the “Miss Upper Saint John River Valley” title. In 1995, a local firm donated a large trophy tothe Old Home Week Commission with the understanding that the Beauty Contest would become the Miss New Brunswick Beauty Pageant and the trophy would be awarded annually to the winner, and would be the official Miss New Brunswick. This new venture was a great success and Miss Marion Corey had the honour of being the first “Miss New Brunswick”. This Miss NB Beauty Pageant continued until 1969 in this manner and at that time was incorporated.
The Hobby Show continued from the early years with great popularity but was dropped during 1967 and 1968 seasons due to the impossibility of finding a sponsor. It was revived in 1969 with an even greater success and has continued to date, housed in the Creighton Building.
Old Home Week was held on Island Park from 1948 through 1967. The 1968 Week was held in the new Connell Park and although everyone felt some sadness at leaving Island Park, the improvement of parking and all facilities were greater than everyone had anticipated.
Several events have become more or less ‘permanent fixtures’ of Old Home Week, such as Harness Races, the Horse Pull, Dances, the Old Time Fiddle and Guitar Contest and the Miss New Brunswick Pageant. An addition in the last few years which has proved very popular is Karnes Family Day, when Karnes Family Kitchen Ltd. sponsors reduced the price of Midway rides, hot dogs, and Kool-Aid for the children.