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  • Stephen D'Agostino

Two Community Events This Weekend in Reading

When I was a kid, February felt like a special month for so many reasons. For starters, it was short (like me). It held Groundhog Day, Lincoln’s Birthday, Valentine’s Day, and Washington’s Birthday. Oh, and school vacation meant days of sledding on the public golf course by my house or in the woods by my cousins’ house.

February doesn't offer me that level of excitement anymore. I can’t recall the last time I was on a sled. Now, the thought of doing something outdoors that I don’t have to do tempts me to retreat under a blanket. It makes me feel…old.

One thing we can all get excited about in February is that every day we have a little more light. In this short month, we go from just under 10 hours of daylight on the first to just over 11 on the twenty-eighth, with the increase split pretty evenly between earlier sunrises and later sunsets By the time this is published, the sun will be setting after 5pm, the first time since November.

I can also be excited about this week’s double-whammy of community events. Indoor community events. Saturday night is the second of the Winter Concert Series. This one features folk singer/songwriter and Windsor resident Dave Richardson. I’ve never seen Dave perform live, but I have heard his music. Each piece is a story beautiful composed and sung. You can listen to his music on his website as sort of a warm-up for the show.

As you surely know by now, the Winter Concert Series, sponsored by the Reading Recreation Commission, benefits four local organizations. They are the Reading-West Windsor Food Shelf, the Reading PTO, the Reading Green Spaces Committee (which is working to transform Puddledock Park into a gem of a public space right in the center of town), and Upper Valley Wise. All of the money collected through admissions (see below) will be divided evenly between the four organizations.

Like last month, there will be food at the event, so you don't have to choose between a good show and dinner. You can do both! This month, it’ll be make-your-own tacos.

Admission is $10 for adults. Children 15 and under are free. Also, please bring non-perishable food items that are not beyond their expiration date. These will be donated immediately to the Reading-West Windsor Food Shelf.

A recap of the logistics: the show is this Saturday, February 9, at 7pm at Reading Town Hall. I hope to see you there!

If I don’t, maybe I will see you for part two of the double whammy weekend: Mama Mia Bistro. This annual feast, sponsored by the Reading PTO, happens at the Reading Elementary School on Sunday, February 10, from 4pm to 7pm. The menu includes salad, garlic bread, penne pasta and meatballs in marinara sauce, and a variety of desserts. Admission is $8 for adults $5 for children over the age of 5. You can also feed your entire family for $20.

What would Mama Mia’s Bistro be without the Gift Basket Raffle? Tickets are $1 each or 6 for $5. You can get them from Reading Elementary School students before the event, or you can buy them at the dinner.

With the double-whammy weekend out of the way, please be sure to mark your calendar for an event happening the following Saturday, February 16. It’s the Reading Historical Society’s Annual Meeting. This year, we are trying something different. We are holding a brinner, which is a meal consisting of breakfast foods but served at dinner.

Some of the items being served will include maple, which is a perfect complement to the evening’s main event, a talk by Champlain College’s Michael Lange called “The Many Meanings of Maple.” According to Michael, maple is enormously important to Vermont's economy, ecology, and heritage. In his presentation, Michael will discuss what sugaring really means to Vermont, based on five years of research among sugar makers all over the state. Rather than discussing the practical aspects of sugaring, such as how to tap a tree or how an evaporator works, Michael’s talk will focus on how and why maple has become so important to Vermont's identity, and how and why it helps us shape who we are as Vermonters.

The annual meeting of the Reading Historical Society happens at 4:30pm at Town Hall. The brinner starts at 5pm, and Michael’s talk commences at 6pm. All three parts of this event are free. You are welcome to come to part or all of the evening. However, if you plan to attend the brinner, please let Calista Brennan know. You can call her at 802-484-0276 or email her at

Thank you, Reading, for giving this homebody correspondent plenty to be excited about this month!

Happy Birthday to Esther Allen (February 9).

That’s the news from Reading! See you next week!

This column originally appeared in The Vermont Standard on February 7, 2019.

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