The following was submitted by the Reading/North Reading Chamber of Commerce.
Reading will kick-off the holiday season in grand style with the Annual Reading Holiday Light Festival this Sunday, November 27, from 1-4 p.m. hosted by the Reading-North Reading Chamber of Commerce. After a holiday performance by the RMHS Marching Band on the Common, Santa will switch the tree lights on and make the Common a magical place at 4:30.
Festivities start at 1 p.m. and are planned for Haven Street, Lowell Street, Reading Common and Main Street. Take your family on a covered horse-drawn hay wagon or take a tour around the town by riding one of the two trolleys which will make stops at the corner of Lowell and Main Street, Grumpy Doyle’s, The Chocolate Truffle and Sammy Jo’s Italian Bakery and Cafe. There will be something unique at every stop. Both the hay wagon and trolleys are sponsored by local Chamber business members - Cota Funeral Home, Douglass, Edgerley and Bessom Funeral Home, Doherty-Barile Family Funeral Home, Eastern Bank, Hallmark Health Medical Center, Kathi Spurr, CFP®, Latham Law Offices, Linnane Insurance, Lombardo Construction, Lumina Salon, Middlesex Animal Hospital, Reading Gymnastics Academy, Reading Co-operative Bank, Reading Municipal Light Department, Reading Patch.com, Salem Five Bank, The Savings Bank and Wingate at Reading.
On Haven Street you can have photos and visits with Santa at Reading Co-operative Bank, visit Petunia the Clown and enjoy cocoa or coffee from Keurig Inc. at Eastern Bank, further down Haven Street you can meet Elmo at Sammy Jo’s Italian Bakery and Café. Trucks from Reading Municipal Light Department, Reading’s Fire Department and DPW will be parked in front of the new Oaktree Development site. Children can also jump on a moon-bouncer free of charge from Kids’ Stuff Amusements.
Lowell Street from Town Hall to CVS will be closed and filled with more festival activities like a jumpy castle, compliments of Elite Freestyle Karate, the Reading Girl Scouts will be conducting calendar and cookie sales, Doyon’s TV and Appliance will be handing out balloons from their truck, and REI will have a tent. RCTV studio will be open for tours; children can decorate (and eat) cookies or make a craft.
Don’t forget to bring your camera to take your picture with the many characters that will be roaming around downtown like Tigger, Scooby Doo and Rudolf sponsored by Reading Gymnastics Academy, Reading Trophy & Shirt and Longwood Place of Reading. Frosty the Snowman will be at the Chocolate Truffle inviting you to shop and try chocolate treats.
To defer the cost of keeping the lights lit through January, the Chamber is holding a raffle with fantastic prizes. The Grand Prize is a 22” flat screen, high definition television donated by Doyon’s TV and Appliances, Second Prize is a “Holiday Relief” package donated by Lumina Salon which includes a haircut with gloss treatment, styling/blow drying, ½ hour body massage, spa manicure and pedicure with an eye brow wax. Third Prize, donated by Community Connections Yellow Pages, is two tickets to the Stoneham Theater and dinner for two at Felicia’s Restaurant in Stoneham, fourth prize is a complete bumper-to-bumper car detailing donated by Sonny’s Car Wash in Reading, Fifth Prize is a three-month family membership to the Burbank Y and the Sixth Prize is a free week of Holiday Vacation camp at Reading Gymnastics Academy. Donations to the Holiday Lighting Fund can also be made at Eastern Bank or by mailing them in to the Chamber at PO Box 771, Reading, MA 01867.
Local talent will be performing holiday concerts throughout the day in many locations. Austin Preparatory School Chorus will be performing a holiday concert inside Eastern Bank at 1:30 pm, Reading Community Singers will be singing at Reading Co-operative Bank, the Colonial Chorus will be performing at RCTV at 2 p.m., Irish musicians will be at Grumpy Doyle’s and Old South Brass and Organ will hold a concert in the United Methodist Church at 3 p.m. The festival ends on a high note with the RMHS Marching Band performing on the Common at 4:00 p.m. to welcome Santa.
New to the downtown this year is a Holiday Window Display contest which will run Thanksgiving through Christmas eve. Be sure to check out the displays and cast your vote for your favorite one at these following businesses; The Chocolate Truffle, Metropolitan Bath, Premier Realty Group, RCTV, Goodhearts Children’s Shop, Aine’s Boutique, The Hitching Post Gift Shop, Sammy Jo’s Italian Bakery & Café, Everything but the Dog, RMB Interiors and Mary Roses Quilts and Treasures. Each is competing for bragging rights and a $500 donation from Reading Co-operative Bank to their favorite charity.
Programs mapping out trolley stops, activities and entertainment schedules will be available at the festival. For further details, visit the Chamber’s web site www.readingnreadingchamber.org where the schedule of events has been posted or contact Irene Collins at 978-664-5060.