The Reading Fall Street Faire was held on Sunday, September 11th and was met with enthusiastic crowds, despite the early thunderstorms and wind. The annual event featured live entertainment on two stages, a large children’s area, inflatables by Perfect Parties USA out of Peabody, MA, and over 180 food vendors and organizations. Brian Snell, Fall Street Faire Chair and local attorney, commended the hard-working volunteers for another tremendous job. “It is impressive when you consider this Faire draws crowds of over 10,000 to downtown Reading and it is created nearly entirely by volunteers.” Snell continued, “It’s an amazing tribute to the community of Reading”.
The day began with The Fall Street Faire 5K, in partnership with PureFit of Reading. Most of the runners were able to get their start before the heavy rains and winds began. The rain didn’t stop the runners who persevered through the down pour to complete the race. Wakefield’s Suzy Marceo was the top female performer coming in at 20:46, while Reading’s own Caroline Coumounduros finished in second with a time of 23:55. On the Men’s side Paul Chekal, of Providence RI, finsihed just 19 seconds ahead of Reading’s Mike Briddon with a time of 19:16. The under 13 age group Boys was headed by Calvin Brown (26:29) and Declan Wilkes (27:22), while Caitlin Nickerson (26:24) and Skyler Fadale (28:14) took top times for the Girls Division. All four of these participants reside here in Reading.
Prior to the actual faire start time of 12:00, the Town gathered at the stage on Woburn street where Caitlin Beckman and the Reading Civic Band performed God Bless America after which the Reading Police Honor Guard marched before the Irish American Police Officer’s Association Pipes and Drums and the Westford Fire Regional Pipe Band. There were three Reading officers in the combined band. Officer Eric Drauschke and Sergeant Patrick Silva, presenting the Reading Police and Officer John Keough representing the Reading Fire Department. Local legislators and scouts brought the parade to a close at the High Street stage where the Reading Community Singers, directed by Beth Mosier, performed Thankful, a most appropriate song to begin the September 11th Commemoration Ceremony. The ceremony presented music and memories and words of inspiration. Deputy Chief David Clark spoke of his time at ground zero in the days that followed the terrible tragedy that changed so many lives after which the Pipe and Drum band played a heart-warming rendition of Amazing Grace and an ode to the five military branches. Both Senator Jason Lewis and Representative Brad Jones spoke of remembering the events but focusing on the resilience of Americans that exists still today. Following another song by the Reading Community Singers, Representative James Dwyer made some brief comments before introducing his cousin Captain Mark Dwyer of the Reading Fire Department. Captain Dwyer travelled to New York City in the days that followed for two reasons. One, because he felt an overwhelming need to help and two, because he needed to learn of his cousin’s status. His cousin was Kevin McCarthy, an employee at Cantor Fitzgerald, who in addition to the loss of Kevin, lost 657 other employees when the LA bound plane crashed into the 104th floor of the trade center. While Mark fondly remembered his cousin and his family, his message was not to focus on the grief of that day, but to convey a message of “patriotism, and hope”. The crowd was visibly riveted as Captain Dwyer spoke of the various interactions he had in New York City. He closed reminding us to never forget that horror of that day and to honor those that were sacrificed and continue to put themselves in harms way. We can accomplish that with kindness and service to others. Brian Snell then closed the Ceremony and invited the crowd to join the Reading Community Singers in the Star Spangled Banner after which the faire was kicked off.
The committee really appreciates the time and efforts of sponsors and volunteers. The faire would not be as successful without the community and local business involvement.
There were over 50 volunteers on hand early the morning of September 11th marking off vendor spaces, preparing the children’s area, and directing vendors to their locations. John Meyer, Boy Scout Troop 702 and Troop Leaders played an instrumental role in the day, from setting up vendors’ tents, to unloading hundreds of pumpkins as well as providing assistance wherever needed.
Calereso’s and Home Depot of Reading offered hands-on projects and crafts for children to enjoy. Goodhearts Children’s Shop featured live farm animals at their booth, and Hallmark Health sponsored the two stages, which spotlighted local performers throughout the afternoon. Thanks goes out to Mike Testa for acquiring a stage borrowed from Downtown Boston Business Improvement District Corporation. Both stages were sponsored by Hallmark Health. Jim Dwyer and The Reading Montessori School sponsored the Children’s Area again this year, which featured face painting, wholesome crafts, and games. The Pie Eating contest drew a large crowd and was sponsored by RCTV. This year RCTV generously donated two XBOX one consoles to the winners of each of the kids divisions. There were hundreds of people gathered as approximately 20 kids ranging from 7 – 15 stuffed their faces with pie.
The Reading Fall Street Faire committee would also like to recognize the Reading Recreation Division, Reading Municipal Light Department, Reading Public Works Department (George Strazzere), and Police Officer David Savio, Officer Kristin Stasiak and their team for spearheading the safety details of the day.
The Reading Fall Street Faire is an Annual September event and organized by a committee, that is appointed by the Board of Selectman, and various other residents and business owners. For more information please see the website at www.readingfallstreetfaire.com.