Wakefield welcomed everyone at homecoming

Published 11:29 am Saturday, October 13, 2018

by Merle Monahan / Contributing Writer

Homecoming at the Wakefield Foundation went off “without a hitch Saturday,” said Joan Drewrey, one of the founding members of the foundation. “The weather was perfect and everyone seemed to be having a good time, meeting and greeting old friends and former school mates.

The foundation building served as the Wakefield High School until 1964. When word began to circulate in 1983 that the unused property may be sold and the building torn down, it was acquired by a group of local citizens who founded the Wakefield Foundation.

“I was really happy to see so many people,” Drewery added, estimating that she was sure as many as 1,000 people attended.

Drewrey was most likely right. She said since starting the homecomings some 30 years ago, attendance at the events had always been good.

Kicking off the festivities at 10 a.m., was the annual parade. While this was in progress, vendors were happily selling their wares from booths spread around the grounds. Other visitors lounged near the stage where a variety of musicians performed during the morning.

At noon, food, including Brunswick stew, hamburgers, barbeques and hot dogs, along with beverages were available for the crowd.

For the second year, a special event, sponsored by the newly formed Wakefield Historical Association was available for viewing. Inside the building, members had put together several displays of Wakefield community “people of interest.”

These people of interest were also featured in a book, compiled and written by members of the WHA, which was for sale.

“The last time we counted, more than 200 people had visited these displays,” Drewery said. “I don’t have an accurate count on the book sales, however, but someone on staff remarked that almost all had been sold.”

What makes the book so interesting is that it features local people of years past, like Bob Dunnington, who was the editor of the Sussex-Surry Dispatch, Quentin Altizer, born in Wakefield and who played minor league baseball, and Rossie Clark Sr., one of the best known blacksmiths in this area.

Clark and his wife had 14 children, but only eight survived. He was extremely talented and on several occasions made iron objects for residents and businesses of Williamsburg.

The book is dedicated to Mrs. Fay Savege, a teacher in Wakefield who was an expert in researching family histories. For her untiring research of the Wakefield area, she was honored by the town as Honorary Historian.

Last year, the WHA compiled a book on Wakefield veterans, which also became a best seller. The word is that the association plans to publish an upcoming book on past Wakefield businesses. If so, it should be ready for next year’s homecoming.

The businesses and organizations work together to organize the homecomings, according to Drewery. “They all volunteer,” she said. “If it were not for them, we could not accomplish these events.”