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  • Writer's pictureStephen D'Agostino

Plans Are Underway for the First Puddledock Park Party

First, hats off to the Vermont Standard for starting last week off on a very bad note and still managing to publish the paper. As timing would have it, I had a few other things besides my column about which I needed to correspond with Gareth Henderson, the editor. Even those issues got resolved as if last week were just another week.

I didn’t live here in August 2011, so I missed Irene. The paper published that week, too. For those who were here, I am sure this week’s display of devotion and commitment seems as impressive as the display nearly seven years ago.

Rob Macri for the Reading team pitches in first round of the Reading-Weathersfield horseshoe tourney.
Rob Macri for the Reading team pitches in first round of the Reading-Weathersfield horseshoe tourney.

Ed Nelson pitches for Weathersfield in the Reading-Weatherfield horseshoe tourney.
Ed Nelson pitches for Weathersfield in the Reading-Weatherfield horseshoe tourney.

Here’s another reason to doff our hats. Congratulations to the Weathersfield horseshoe team, who barely edged by the Reading side in two matches. The first team from Reading was Adam Kozlowski and Rob Macri, while Weathersfield’s team was Ed Morris and Eric Grald. The second Reading team consisted of Gerry Marletta and me. Weathersfield’s pitchers were Mark Richardson and Michelle Grald. Avowed amateurs all, we were skilled at having fun.

There might have been a third match, but the smell of grilled burgers and hot dogs and steaks (!) drew the teams to the picnic tables for a lovely potluck. Thanks to all who brought food for the event. July’s Game Night is in the books, and it was another great evening for the town. Weathersfield folks: no hard feelings. Come back for the August Game Night! We may not be pitching horseshoes, but we will have a fun night!

A third hats off to Wade Mullins for using Facebook to feature the items at the Reading PTO’s Yard Sale last Saturday. I was miles away checking the feed, and I saw that he had posted a photo of a lawn bowling set. In a reply to his post, I joked that I doubted the PTO had PayPal, but I would like to buy the set. Could he please hold it? He replied back that yes, indeed, the PTO does have a PayPal account. Moments later, I was the proud owner of the lawn bowling set, complete with wooden pins! The PTO drew the line on shipping it to me, so I picked it up from Wade.

Now, I don’t need a lawn bowling set, but I figured it would make an excellent addition to the Reading Recreation Commission's Game Night when we’re not pitching shoes. The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized that lawn bowling on that huge field would use up such a tiny bit of space that it would just seem weird. Kind of like a painter with a massive canvas putting a single dot in the corner. Besides, while everyone else was playing wiffle ball or kickball, the few kids bowling would be off by themselves. Knowing the kids who attend Game Night, they’d be having a blast. It’s just not very community oriented.

Puddledock Park is a much smaller space. I don’t know it’s measurements, but it wouldn’t surprise me if one hundred Puddledock Parks could fit in Bartley Field. Our little park in the middle of town will be a perfect place for lawn bowling. And the first Puddledock Park party, which will likely feature that fun game as well as other events for kid and adults, happens on Thursday, August 2, at 5pm.

Last year, the August and September Thursday night events at the park were called the Produce Swap. The idea was that people would bring their extra garden-grown vegetables, including those zucchini that would otherwise be coming out of their ears, and trade them for some veggies or fruit that are overabundant in someone else’s garden.

That activity will continue, and there will probably be a themed night or two along the way, such as the Perennial Swap. But that’s not all the Puddledock Park Parties will be. They’ll be celebrations, of summer, friendship, and community in our little town.

For more information about the Puddledock Park Party, see the Reading Recreation Commission’s Facebook page (

When it rains, it pours (actually, not true. Today when I was writing this, it only rained—an event I am happy about—but you know that old saying), and the first Puddledock Park Party will be followed up the very next day, August 3, with First Friday. There are actually three things going on.

First, of course, is First Friday at the Hall Art Foundation, starting at 5pm. Self-guided tours of the museum are free, and La Pizza Lupo will be there offering their unique take on pizza for purchase.

Second, sticking with the art theme, the library, as part of its Open House, will be hosting the Random Art Show at Puddledock Park (rain location, the library). Random art is a piece that you bought at a yard sale, was left behind by your home’s former owner, you found at the dump, you bought on a whim and now can’t remember what that whim is. The art isn’t so much the feature. Instead, it’s the story behind the acquisition. Keep it fun, pretty, tacky, wacky, kitschy and kid-friendly, and drop off your contribution to the show at the library during opening hours by August 2. You can find those hours on the library’s website, The Open House/Random Art Show kicks off at 5pm and runs until 7pm.

The third First Friday event is the second talk in Reading Historical Society’s 65th Anniversary Celebration. August’s talk is called “400 Miles Down the Connecticut River” and is presented by Michael Tougias. Apart from being a speaker, Mike is also a prolific author, having penned 29 books. I’m going to give Mike more ink next week in my column, which will be published on the eve of his talk, so be sure to check back! The presentation is at the Reading Historical Society Museum, and it begins at 7pm.

A final note—wishing Hazel King a speedy recovery. She recently fell and fractured three ribs. I have always been impressed with Hazel’s energy, and though I know recovery will take some time, I don’t see this slowing her down for too long.

Happy birthday to Ginger Harkins (July 29) and Chris Barr (July 30).

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

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