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  • Writer's pictureStephen D'Agostino

Maple Cook-Off is This Weekend

One thing I don’t love about social media at this time of the year are postings from my friends and family in Massachusetts and New York showing spring springing. I've seen my share of crocuses breaking ground and robins bop-bop-bopping along, thank you. Either sighting here would require less of the white stuff—a lot less—on the ground. Though, I am sure when we finally start seeing spring—when my friends south of here start seeing summer—I'll be posting my joy.

What I do love using Facebook for, however, is promoting local events. I’ve been posting the posters for the Maple Cook-Off on Reading’s Facebook page ( If you’ve seen them around town, then you’ll notice right off that they’re not the usual promotional posters done in Word using clip art. I know I’ve made my share of those. Nope, these are a bit larger. Every one of them is unique. All are hand drawn by kids in town. What each has in common is the message.

If you haven’t seen these posters in the virtual world or the real world, let me give you the details. The Maple Cook-Off is a benefit for the Reading Green Spaces Committee. The group is working to beautify Puddledock Park, and this fundraiser will help generate the necessary funds.

You can participate in the Maple Cook-Off in two ways. First, you can sign up to bring some maple-inspired goodness to the event. The dessert category filled up fast, so the committee is looking for people to fill slots in the remaining three categories: appetizers, salads/veggies, entrées. Jane Philpin is the person to email to let the committee know you're in. You can reach her at

Second, you can come to the event. Armed with a fork, spoon, knife, and ballot, you can work your way through the maple offerings and choose the one you like best. The contestant who gets the most votes wins bragging rights and a prize.

So who should come to this maple-themed event? Maple lovers, of course, as well as people who went to any of the Puddledock Park Parties last August and September. People who enjoyed the tree lighting on December 1 of last year, people who love community events, folks who love spending time with friends and neighbors and finally, people who want to recognize the work put in by the kids who made the posters and don’t want their message to go unheeded.

Here are the details. The Maple Cook-Off happens on March 30, from 5pm to 7pm at Reading Town Hall. Admission for diner-judges is $8 per person or $20 for families. For people who make a maple dish for the competition, admission is free. I hope to see you there on Saturday.

If maple isn’t your thing (!), or even if it is here’s another way to show support for your community. Donate to the Reading After School Program.

I’m going to quote what is on the program’s fundraising web page ( here. “RAP provides children with a safe place to not only finish homework, but to play, create, and exercise. RAP has hosted lots of wonderful enrichment programs so far this year, including Reading Runners in the fall, cooking classes, and a whole host of arts and crafts activities. We are hoping to fund several special programs this spring, including arts in the woods, Artistree, and theatre arts, to name a few!

RAP allows working families to keep their children in their home community, rather than sending them to other schools in the district. Which is why we are asking for your help! RAP needs financial support in order to continue, and the Reading Parent Teacher Organization welcomes donations in any amount.

Donations made through this website will be used to help fund RAP, and are completely tax deductible.

Thank you for supporting our small but mighty school and community!”

The initial goal of the drive was $3,000. Generous donors smashed through that figure in just two days. The PTO, therefore, has upped the amount to $4,000. Do you know what would be great? If that amount was not only reached but surpassed! Every donation helps, and it takes just minutes to complete.

The website notes that having a successful afterschool program is vital to the future of RES. I will take that one step further by saying it is also vital to the future of Reading. Please do what you can to help out.

Finally, here are some non-related item worth mentioning.

Congratulations to Vermont Overland, which is run by Peter Vollers. The most recent issue of Vermont Sports published the Black Diamond Awards, which is a reader survey of the best sports-related events, people, shops, etc. Voted the Best Gravel Ride in the state was Vermont Overland! Congratulations, Peter!

I know the Maple Adventure Ride was this past weekend. For that ride, I’m sure the term “gravel” is more of a concept, given our muddy roads. There will be more events in warmer weather this year, and all of them are fundraisers for local community organizations.

Speaking of fundraising, don't forget the final show in the Reading Recreation Commission's Winter Concert Series. The show will be a bit different than the shows in January, February, and this month. The first half will feature Recreation commissioner and Reading resident Gerry Marletta and his group Monkey Pudding Face (perhaps my favorite band name ever). The second half of the evening will be dancing. The spontaneous kicking up of heels at the last concert makes me think this will be a fun night. Be on the lookout for more details.

Happy birthday to Makiya Harkins (March 29), and Liam Jenne (April 1)

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

This column originally appeared in The Vermont Standard on March 28, 2019.

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