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  • Stephen D'Agostino

Reading Celebrates the Season With 3 Events On Saturday

Last Friday, I was on the coast of Maine. It was a bright, blustery day with not even a hint that a flake of snow had hit the ground in the past month. Whether it was out of a sense of curiosity or solidarity with someone shopping for snowshoes, a winter sports enthusiast asked me if we’d had any snow yet in Vermont. I told him not much. I also made the bold prediction that this winter would not be a bad one.

So, of course, I am writing this with snow piling up outside in what will be our first significant storm of the season. At least it waited until December. Unlike last year. Or the year before. Is this the beginning of a snowy winter? I’m not making predictions. Given my track record, I’d be wrong anyway.

The snow on the ground will add to the festive atmosphere for the events happening around town this Saturday, December 7. Take a moment to dig out your calendar or your phone and write down these happenings! I’ll wait.

Good, you’re back! Start the day by shopping for local, handmade quality crafts at the Fourth Annual Reading Holiday Craft Fair, sponsored by the Reading Historical Society. It runs from 9am to 2pm at Reading Town Hall (799 VT Route 106). Here you can find, woodworking, jewelry, décor for the home, holiday, and garden, herbal teas, soap, Vermont photography gifts, folk art, braided rugs, handbags, and more!

Also at the event, the RHS will be drawing the winner of the table handmade and donated by Jim Bennett. The table is made from reclaimed butter nut wood, which came from the Hunt’s logging operation. It is truly locally made. Tickets for the raffle are $5 each or 5 for $20 and will be on sale at the craft fair.

Also for sale at the craft fair are breakfast and lunch foods. So not only can you do some holiday shopping for unique one-of-a-kind gifts, but you can also enjoy a meal with your friends and neighbors.

After you eat or while you are waiting to learn if you won the table, take a stroll down the street to the Reading Public Library and buy a wreath for your front door at the Second Annual Wreath Sale. Undecorated wreaths are $18, and decorated wreaths are $25. Proceeds benefit the Reading Green Spaces Committee, which is working to beautify Puddledock Park, located right next to the library. The wreath sale runs from 10am to 1pm.

The said park undergoing beautification is the location of the big day’s final event—the Third Annual Holiday Tree Lighting. There will be caroling, delicious hot drinks and cookies, a warm fire, and a visit from Santa Claus! The tree lighting happens at 6:30pm. This festive finale is sponsored by the Reading Recreation Commission and the Reading Public Library.

Last week, I wrote about the huge success of the PTO Pie Sale. The event was designed to make it easy for someone to take a couple of minutes out of their busy schedule—just days before Thanksgiving—to drop by and purchase a pie or two. Sure, we chit-chatted with the customers, but it was definitely a transactional experience. It was also a community experience.

Being fundraisers, two of the three events happening on Saturday revolve around transactions, and one—the wreath sale—is very similar to the Pie Sale in its ease. Still, all three are community experiences. At the craft fair, you are invited to linger with friends over coffee. Perhaps you and a friend or you and a stranger will discuss the different fragrances of bars of soap. Maybe you’ll strike up a conversation about knitting while poring over skeins of yarn. Perhaps you'll ask advice on what would be the perfect piece of jewelry for a friend. At the tree lighting, you are invited—encouraged, actually—to lend your voice to a community sing-along of carols.

When you leave these events, whether you bought a gift or wreath or sang a few bars of “Frosty the Snowman,” I hope you will feel a bit of community spirit to go along with the holiday spirit! I know I will. On Sunday, with these events behind me (us), I know I will be excited and full of anticipation for upcoming holiday celebrations. I will also be filled with a great sense of pride in our town.

I wrote last week’s column on the road, so I didn’t have my calendar on hand to see who was celebrating in the coming week. So belatedly, I wish happy birthday to Jane Blanchard (December 1), Nathaniel Jenne, Sr. (December 2), Zoe Marletta (December 2), and Robby Macri (December 4).

Right on time, here are celebratory wishes for the coming week. Happy birthday, Dominic Lord (December 5). Happy anniversary to Walter and Mary-Jane Wilkins (December 7).

That's the news from Reading. See you next week!

This column originally appeared in The Vermont Standard on December 5, 2019.

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