• Stephen D'Agostino

Three Outdoor Events to Close Out September

One of the things I love most about this glorious season is that there are so many outdoor events happening. If you’re like me, then lucky us! There are three such events in Reading over the next nine days.

First, tonight is Puddledock Park Party number eight. The week's theme is Open Mic. Here's your chance to show off your talent! Bring an instrument to play, a song to sing, a short story or poem to read, something to show and talk about. We’ll also be finishing the art project we started two weeks ago. We could use those great painters who attended Art in the Park and more!


Next Thursday evening is the final Puddledock Park Party of the season, and this popular summer series is going out in style. We’ll be making s’mores and be watching a movie under the stars. The featured flick is A Night At The Museum.


Puddledock Park Parties begin at 6pm. Bring something to sit on, bug spray, and food and drink. For the movie, you might want to bring blankets, too. It’s getting chilly in the evenings!

The final event—and this one is huge—is the Reading Fall Fair. I am happy to report that things are shaping up nicely.


Reading Fire and Rescue is contributing a couple of trucks to the Touch-A-Truck event. We’ll also have trucks from Weathersfield, Ascutney, and West Windsor.

But that’s not all. Reading is going to contribute one or two trucks to the fair, and Kevin Kaija is bringing a tractor. That’s a lot for kids to explore.


Reading Fire and Rescue will also be grilling burgers and dogs and have soda and chips, all for purchase. Lunch: covered!


The petting zoo is growing. Several animals have put up their paws, hooves, and feet to volunteer, and several more will be joining this menagerie. Please check Front Porch Forum and the Reading Recreation Commission’s Facebook page (facebook.com/readingparks) for the petting zoo roster.


At the fair, we’ll be building scarecrows that will find homes in front of houses on Route 106 in Felchville. The Reading Recreation Commission will provide some clothes and hay. If you want to take part, you can bring your own clothes as well as additional items to make your scarecrow special. Perhaps a pumpkin head—real or plastic—or a head constructed out of burlap. Maybe a hat. Use your imagination! The Reading Recreation Commission will provide posts for the scarecrows to be displayed. However, if you want your scarecrow sitting or have some other inventive way for your creation to be presented, bring it along.

These scarecrows will grace Felchville for the entire month of October and will be judged by residents and visitors. The winner will be announced during Fright Night festivities, October 31.


Back to the Reading Fall Fair. There will be carnival games for fun and the maple jug challenge, a contest open to kids to see how long they can hold a jug of maple syrup at arm’s length. I saw something similar while on vacation, but the kids were using milk cans. Jugs of syrup make this contest very Vermont.

For adults and kids, we’ll have music by Rose Hip Jam. This upper Valley trio plays folk, folk-rock, country, country-rock, blues, and old-time favorites. They’re a lot of fun, and worth the price of admission. Actually, there is no price of admission. The Reading Fall Fair is FREE!


Capping the fun at the fair is the 13th annual Ducky Derby. It is the Reading Recreation Commission’s biggest fundraiser. The money generated makes things like the Bunny Hop, Fright Night, the Winter Concert Series, the annual tree lighting, the Puddledock Park Parties, and other fun community events possible.


The Recreation Commission has lined up some impressive prizes this year, including a one-night stay at the Woodstock Inn, a $100 gift card to Maple Kitchen at Ascutney Mountain, gift cards to places like King Arthur Flour, the Woodstock Farmers' Market, the Inn at Weathersfield, Green Mountain Smokehouse, Bob's Barbershop, and the Village Butcher. Sponsor some ducks, and maybe you’ll win a beautiful handmade cutting board, courtesy of Creative Woodworking, or a cheese stone, thanks to our friends at Farmhouse Pottery. Paradise Sports is donating a kid's bike again this year, and for you bookworms (like me), Yankee Bookshop is donating a bunch of books that will keep you reading for a while! The best way to keep up with the list of prizes is to check the Reading Recreation Commission’s Facebook page or Front Porch Forum. Also ask to see the list when you buy your tickets at Watroba’s, the Reading Greenhouse, or Town Hall. Ducks are $5 each or 6 for $25.


Here are the logistics for the Reading Fall Fair. It happens on Saturday, September 28, from 10am to 2pm, at the Reading Elementary School. The event is free, with food and Ducky Derby tickets to purchase.


The Reading Recreation Commission would be so appreciative if you could volunteer at the fair. About half a dozen people, beyond the good folks from Reading Fire and Rescue, have stepped up. Will you join them? You’ll be helping out with running the carnival games, the build-a-scarecrow contest, selling any last-minute Ducky Derby tickets, and keeping an eye on the petting zoo. I can guarantee that you will feel great about the work you did when it's all done. I know I will. You can contact me (info below) to volunteer.


Remember, it takes a village to raise a village.


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


This column originally appeared in The Vermont Standard on September 19, 2019.

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