This Saturday, May 12, rain or shine, the Town of Ocean View will host its third annual Homecoming, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in John West Park.
“A great many hours have been spent this year planning the event, and it looks like we may luck out with the weather,” said Ocean View Historical Society member Richard Nippes. “We have many, many events we think you all will find interesting.”
Homecoming, which originated in the early 1900s, lasted up until World War II and was recently resurrected by the Town, with the help of the Ocean View Historical Society.
“Ocean View was pretty much an isolated community,” explained Nippes of the town’s early days. “Basically, you made a living either off the water or farming. Many people really couldn’t make a living, so many would go to Philadelphia, New York and various other places to work.
“But they were very closely tied through family. Many left family behind in Ocean View. So they started a weekend every year in which people would come back to the town to renew old ties and get together and have a good time. They did that every year, and it became an annual event… The primary purpose was just to bring continuity to the community.”
Nippes added that, this year, there will be more entertainment and activities for the kids than in years past.
The day will kick off with the presentation of the colors by members of VFW Post #7234 and the singing of the national anthem by Lord Baltimore Elementary School fourth- and fifth-graders.
Homecoming will have two headline entertainers in 2012 as well — the Grand Master Carousel Band Organ and “Sir Rod,” a Rod Stewart impersonator. And that’s just the start of the entertainment options being offered.
“If any of you haven’t heard of the Mariner’s youth CRASH band – that is, in and of itself, worth coming to see, them playing their trash cans,” added Nippes.
Eight area eateries will also be on hand to sell food concessions to attendees. A number of artisans will be set up along the new pathway in the park, displaying traditional craftwork ranging from basketmaking to wood tops for children and decoy carving. Local non-profit groups and organizations will also have booths set up, and the OVHS will be selling Homecoming T-shirts for $10 each, as a fundraiser.
The OVHS’s main project – the Tunnell-West house at 31 Central Avenue, which is being restored for use as a museum – will also be open to the public this year for tours.
“You will be able to go into the house and see the construction techniques from back in the 1860s,” said Nippes. “We also have numerous artifacts that people have donated to us from that period of time that you’ll be able to look at. I think you will be very impressed.”
He added that approximately $100,000 has been invested in restoring the house to its original condition.
“I think you can see that the exterior of this house has changed considerably. The exterior is just about complete. As soon as we raise additional funds, we will attack the inside. It now has its new roof. It has been pretty well repaired, in terms of carpentry. We are making tremendous progress.”
Homecoming attendees will also be able to peek inside the town’s old post office, which now resides behind the Tunnell-West house.
“You can also see this post office, which was built in 1889, where Annie Betts had her hat shop in the back,” said Nippes. “It’ll be a real asset to the historical facility that we’re creating for the town. I think you’re going to see, when all this is done, this is going to be a tremendous asset to Ocean View.”
Nippes added that he hopes all area residents, from Ocean View and beyond, attend Saturday’s event, and enjoy the tradition of neighbors coming together.
“We certainly hope that you all come Saturday to the Homecoming and be a part of this,” he said. “This Homecoming is not just for residents of Ocean View. It’s open to all of our neighbors — Millville, Roxana, Bethany, Fenwick Island, South Bethany. We certainly want to stress that. It’s not just exclusively for Ocean View.”