George Lawson had a hand in planning the first Hampstead Day in 1973. He hasn't missed one since.
Tomorrow, he will be in charge of the Rotary Club lemonade stand at the 20th annual Hampstead Day celebration, which will feature antiques and craft vendors from throughput the region, along with food prepared by nonprofit groups in Hampstead.
The event will be held, rain or shine, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., along Main Street in Hampstead.
"Hampstead Day is run 100 percent and organized by the Rotary Club," said chairman David Wisniewski.
"One of the chief tenets of Rotary is its service aspect," he said.
The club decided one of the best things it could do for Hampstead would be to give local church and civic groups a big event at which they could raise money.
He said for-profit groups are not allowed to sell food at Hampstead Day.
For some nonprofit groups, Hampstead Day concessions are a major fund-raiser, he said.
No admission charge
No admission is charged, but Hampstead Day lemonade sales and a raffle are major income-generators for the Rotary Club.
The club uses the money raised for scholarships, literacy programs, Just Say No programs in the elementary schools, helping the local fire company and other projects, Mr. Wisniewski said.
Mr. Lawson was president of the Rotary Club when he and the other club members were looking for ways to help the town. Hampstead Day was the brainchild of the late Homer Snyder, a Hampstead auctioneer, Mr. Lawson said.
"Homer originally said, 'Let's try an antique flea market,' " he said.
That first year, Hampstead Day attracted between 70 and 80 vendors. "It has grown," Mr. Lawson said.
50 food concessions
Tomorrow, more than 140 antique and crafts sellers are expected, plus food concessions from about 50 local civic and church groups.
Local entertainment is another part of the fun. All That Glitters, a Hampstead-based dance troupe, will perform in front of the Hampstead Fire Hall at 11:30 a.m.
The Alesia Band will play from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the bandstand near the old Hampstead Elementary School.
Early birds may breakfast on pancakes and sausage at the Hampstead Fire Hall from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Lunch will be served at the St. John's Methodist Church Hall from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.
Mr. Wisniewski said Hampstead Day usually attracts 15,000 to 25,000 people.
"Unlike the marches in Washington," he said, "we don't have the National Park Service counting."
He said, "We have a tremendous amount of cooperation from the local authorities."
Mr. Wisniewski also said Hampstead residents "really are a big help" with Hampstead Day. In addition to supplying food concessions, he said, local residents donate space in their front yards for the antique and crafts tables.
Main Street, Route 30, will remain open throughout the day, he said, although traffic can be expected to be slow.
Hampstead Day has been "awful good to the club, the entire thing," Mr. Lawson said. "It has been, I think, very good for our little town."