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  • Stephen D'Agostino

Thanks to Those Who Attended, Helped At Reading Fall Fair

For my 2017 and 2018 columns directly following Old Home Day, I recapped those great community events. After a day of marching with the Reading Recreation Commission, selling Ducky Derby tickets, or following the ducks down the river to ensure that none escaped, I was tired, but I wanted to share one of the things that makes living in our little town great. In both those columns, I said the sun always shines on Old Home Day.

The sun shined, literally and figuratively, last Saturday for the Reading Fall Fair, and there were many rays of light that deserve thanks for their efforts.

First, thanks to the Reading Fire and Rescue for providing the delicious food. Thanks to Dennis Barbour for his last-minute stroke of genius to bring his cider press to the fair. It was such a treat. Also, thanks to the squad for running Touch-A-Truck. The kids really loved it.

Thanks to Kevin Kaija for constructing the petting zoo pen. Thanks to Annie Rubright and Jean Goldsborough for bringing their two pygmy goats. I suppose thanks to the goats, too, for being so cute and such good sports. Back to Kevin, thanks for lugging the carnival games to the fair.

That brings me to two more volunteers. Anna Sessa turned the cork gun game into a lesson on gun safety. The prize for knocking down a tile was a piece of candy, but everyone learned the basics of how to responsibly handle a gun. Tatianna Werner McCarthy ran the balloon popping game with such patience, care, and humor that even those kids who didn’t burst a balloon walked away feeling like winners. She also led the Maple Jug Challenge like she’d done it a hundred times before. She had not. As far as I know, it was a Reading first.

Thanks to Vanessa Maxham for the face-painting booth. It was a huge hit. I imagine that by the end of the day, her hand was cramped. She even painted my face!

Diane Bennett and Sue Mulder offered to run Build-A-Scarecrow. They were joined by Esther Allen, and they turned that event into a small industry. Every time I walked by, there were several people, mostly kids, working on yet another funny, scary, clever creation.

Thanks to Rose Hip Jam for providing the music. Throughout the event, I saw folks, mostly adults, park themselves on the chairs to enjoy the tunes and have their lunch.

Thanks to Bill Bakker for roving the grounds and selling the remaining Ducky Derby tickets. When the fair opened, there were fewer than 50 tickets to sell, which is phenomenal. Thanks to all who bought tickets in advance. Thanks, also, to Reading Greenhouse, Calista Brennan, and Zonia and Robert Watroba for selling tickets over the past several weeks. It made Bill’s job so much easier.

Thanks to all the businesses for donating prizes for the derby. We had 45 in all. That’s too many to mention here, but check out the Rec’s Facebook page ( to see who donated.

Finally, thanks to all of you who came to the event. We hope you had a great time! The members of the Reading Recreation Commission are humbled and truly appreciative of your show of support. You, in your own way, made the sun shine on us!

One final note about the Reading Fall Fair. It was impossible not to hear people make mention of and comparisons to Old Home Day. That could be because the Ducky Derby was a feature at both events. The Reading Recreation Commission conceived of the Reading Fall Fair in June and worked feverishly to make it a reality. We got buy-in from the select board. We got huge morale and logistical boosts from Reading Fire and Rescue's assistance. We started getting offers to help. We collected prizes for the derby and sold tickets. We had our moments of doubt, but in the end, we had a great event. It wasn’t as grand as Old Home Day, but it was full of community pride and spirit. If that is all it had, it still would have been a success in my book.

Maybe one thing we can all take away from the Reading Fall Fair is that the town can come together and produce a wonderful celebration. Perhaps the fair will continue the conversation of how we can bring back Old Home Day—or something very much like it—in the future.

Looking forward with the few words I have left, don’t forget the Spring Brook Farm Open House is this Saturday from 10am to 3pm. Food, games, cows, apples, cider, fun. I can’t wait!

Sunday, October 13, 8am to 10am is the Leaf Peeper Breakfast sponsored by the PTO and happening at the school. $8 for adults, $5 for kids. $20 for families. Same day at the firehouse, from 11am to 2pm is the Fire Safety Fair. Games, educational materials, fire prevention tips, and more.

I promise both the PTO and the Fire and Rescue Squad more ink on these next week!

Happy birthday to Ben Blanchard (October 4), and Matt vonUnwerth (October 9).

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

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