Tag Archive | barge

Alton, NH, Old Home Day 2012. So Much For The Fireworks. IF You Saw Them Bully For You.

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

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by Anura Guruge


Click to access original page.


Well it says it all.

Suffice to say we missed the fireworks and WE are not amused. Yes, we had gone down to the Bay in the afternoon and walked around. Granted it wasn’t the best of days. But it looked a bit empty, lackluster and downbeat. Didn’t see any notices about fireworks being early in case of bad weather. I have to say that I am underwhelmed by how this event is organized and in particular publicized. I would have gladly have posted whatever they wanted to say about times, rain dates, early fireworks.

C’est la vie. Par for the course for Alton. No, we didn’t check before we left — at 8:55pm. It wasn’t raining at that point.

Got to hear two songs from Echotones. They seemed good. Nice beat. A few old folks, even older than me, were bopping around the bandstand. Tried to get Deanna to get out and dance. She wasn’t having any of that.

So a bit of a damp squib in general. Maybe starting next Summer I am going to give Alton fireworks a miss all together and just go to those in Wolfeborough and Pittsfield.

The lightning show was good. Waiting, patiently, to lose power.

Alton, NH, Old Home Day 2012, With Fireworks, This Weekend August 11 – 12, 2012

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

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by Anura Guruge


Alton Bay in olden days.

Alton Bay in olden days. Ticket office is still there. I did a 3 hour stint in it this afternoon.


I have mentioned Alton Old Home Day once before — pointing out that the fireworks on the Saturday of that weekend is usually better than Alton’s hit-or-miss July 4th fireworks.

So, I now feel a bit responsible to provide you with a heads up as to when they are. They will be, with luck (and weather permitting), this Saturday, August 11 most likely between 9 and 9:30. There will be a concert at the Alton Bay bandstand, no no not the one in the middle of the bay, the more mundane one in the parking lot, at 7pm.

To many the highlight of the Saturday is the 5K road race. I am usually in bed at the time it starts, though I do run close to 5K, on Prospect Mountain, at least 5 days a week. Honest. [IF you don’t believe me, try this. It is ultra neat, even if I say so myself. You can find ME on Google Maps, yes Google Maps … running on less. Do a Google Maps on Water Street, Alton, NH. Then select Street View. Yes, that brown guy is ME. What is funny. I do not remember seeing a Google car with the cameras and I usually don’t miss much. OK. It is not Prospect Mountain. I used to run other routes.]

There will be the usual antique boat show at the docks — though I think it wraps up quite early in the afternoon.

And the inevitable craft fair.

I did do a Google. Tons of results for the 5K race, but couldn’t find the program for 2012. Yes, they do have a program and if you look carefully it is for 2011. That is par for the course for Alton. I am surprised it is that recent. If I get some more info I will put it up here. Enjoy.

I will most likely be at the Bay in the afternoon. Look out for THE brown guy, usually with a big smile on his face. That will be me. OK? Cheers.

Back Volunteering As A Granite State Ambassador (GSA)

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

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by Anura Guruge


I ‘passed’ my 2-day, SNHU run, GSA certification course, in Laconia, in the Spring of 2001. So, I have been a GSA since then. I was fairly active during the first 18 months, typically volunteering Thursday mornings at the Laconia Chamber of Commerce. It was the then director of that Chamber, the larger-than-life, Kinney O’Rouke, who got me involved with the GSA.

Kinney O’Rouke at our Gilford house in 2003.

It was the first warm day of Spring in 2001 and I was at the Laconia CVS in my daughters bright yellow 1995 Corvette (with its distinctive WOWNH plates), with the hood down. As I was about to pull out, this tall, ruddy figure, in a Hawaiian shirt walks up to my window, looks down at me, over his tinted glasses, and asks: ‘where are you from?’. In my case that questions has multiple answers. But, I could tell that Kinney was after ethnicity. He grilled me for a few minutes. He established that I was self-employed and worked my own hours (albeit quite a lot of them). Then he says, nary any compunction: ‘I have a 2 day class starting next week, in Gilford. I want you to attend. We need more people like YOU.’ That was the GSA certification class. It was a blast. As is invariably the case when I attend any kind of class (which thankfully is very rare since I turned 18) I was the ‘trouble maker’. They even made me switch seats the next day. But, I do remember winning a rather fancy moose cap from Molly Hodgson Smith, who had something to do with NH tourism at the time, for getting the answers right on some questions she posed. Over the next two years Kinney changed my life, most times without actually telling me beforehand. Shortly after the GSA course he had me inducted into Laconia Rotary. Kinney was the then President (and to be fair he was, in my case, just trying to fill his designated quota of new members). A few months later, in August, I was congratulated by another member for being elected the new ‘Sergeant-at-Arms‘. Another cute Kinney move. He needed a Sergeant-at-Arms and had me co-opted at a Board Meeting without even asking me beforehand if I would be interested. I was Sergeant-at-Arms for over 2 years, even after Kinney ceased to be the President.

Somewhere around 2003 I stopped the GSA volunteering. There was too much going on in my life. Time has always been a premium. I try to use every spare minute that I can salvage on writing and research. Between 2003 and 2011 I wrote 7 books – and managed to become an expert on papal history! So that is where much of the time went, though during that period I also ended up having two additional kids.

A couple of months ago, upon receiving a flyer, I agreed to volunteer at the upcoming HopFest on July 20, 2012. That got me thinking. I felt bad that I had not done any GSA work. So, I e-mailed them. They were, as ever, very nice. They didn’t chastise me for having gone missing for so long. Just wanted to know when I would start. Well, that was today. I did ‘3 hours’ at the Alton Bay information Center. It was fun. I like the interaction. I have a lot of fun. As has been noted, I am a ‘way off the scale‘ extrovert. Psychologist actually have a scientific definition for extroverts and introverts. Introverts are exhausted after public interactions; extrovert re-energized. Interacting with strangers has never made me tired.

Alton, NH, Fireworks July 3, 2012: Decent Grand Finale Compensates For Insipid Show

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

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by Anura Guruge



To me, a compulsive attender of fireworks (year around), there is always a good indicator of the quality of a fireworks show — the overall enthusiasm and appreciation of the crowd.

At the pre-Independence Day fireworks this year the ONLY applause from the crowd, which was of a decent size, was at the end of the show. If I wanted to be truly cynical, I could say that this applause may have been out of a sense of relief! But, that would be a tad too harsh. The grand finale was half-way decent.

And then, another, sure fire indicator at Lake Winnipesaukee fireworks — the boaters honking their horns to denote approval. There was a fair number of boats in attendance, but I cannot recall hearing even a pip squeak from the water. Just the periodic boom of the fireworks. The boats stayed mum.

For the first 8 minutes of the show, there was only one occasion when more than one firework was fired. It was monotonous, uninspired and tepid.

Last year they had technical problems at this event. It started late. Stopped after a few minutes. Many left thinking that it was over. Then they started again and spluttered on for 20 minutes or so as cars and people streamed off the Bay. They made up for that faux pas with an above average performance at the Alton Old Home Day in August — but, there was hardly anybody there to see it. We had the bridge, overlooking the barge, more or less all to ourselves.

We went to the Wolfeboro fireworks the next day (as is our wont). Yes, it was better and there was crowd and boat reaction throughout. Maybe, it is the different atmosphere, but I always get the feeling that their New Year’s eve fireworks are better.

Yes, I fully understand that it has all to do with budgets. ‘x’ thousand dollars gets you ‘this much’ fireworks (of this ‘quality’). It is how that number is spread out over the allocated time that counts. If you want a 20 minute firework show they have to space out the fireworks. So that is what we get, though I always like to think that with Atlas based in NH we in NH should get a better deal.

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