One of the highlights of the year in North Reading takes places on Sunday afternoon.
The Reading-North Reading Chamber of Commerce’s eighth annual Holiday Lighting Festival is a signature North Reading event as the community comes together to celebrate the season and the town.
Here’s what you need to know about this year’s festivities:
The festivities on the common and at Reading Co-operative Bank will run from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Historic North Reading buildings will be open from 1 to 4 p.m. and the Flint Memorial Library will host its cookie walk between 2 to 4 p.m.
Santa and Mrs. Claus will make their way to the common for the tree-lighting ceremony via a North Reading fire truck at about 4 p.m.
The lighting of the Christmas tree and other lights will be at 4:15 p.m.
Festivities on the commonThe festivities on the common from 2:30 to 4 p.m. includes caroling by high school singers, holiday singing by elementary and middle school choruses and the North Reading High School Marching Band and dance performances. The performances will take place near the Third Meetinghouse on the common.
Reading Cooperative Bank
Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus will be at Reading Co-operative Bank to greet youngsters from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Take your photos with the North Pole's favorite residents.
The Friends of the Flint Memorial Library is sponsoring the first-ever Cookie Walk at the library from 2 to 4 p.m. in the activity room.
Visitors can warm up at the library, purchase a box and fill it with cookies made by North Reading residents. There will also be a free holiday craft by the Friends and the North Reading Moms & Tots Group.
Tractor hay rides will run between the library and Putnam House.
Rediscover North Reading history
The Rev. Daniel Putnam House, Damon Tavern, Sgt. Flint House and West Village Schoolhouse will all be open from 1 to 4 p.m. There will be warm drinks and fireplaces to keep visitors warm.
The Damon Tavern, a one-time inn and stagecoach shop, will be open and the public can view three newly refurbished and partially furnished rooms in the 1880 inn rooms on the second floor. The work is being done by the North Reading Historical and Antiquarian Society and the North Reading Historical Commission with the help of a Friends of the Damon Tavern grant.
Also, visitors can visit the Welcome Center of the Damon Tavern and admire the stenciled walls by Suzanne Korn, who will be on hand to explain her work and answer questions.
The Margaret Parker Archives Room will be open for viewing and you can purchase North Reading gifts too.
The Putnam House will be fully decorated and feature two dollhouses – a Victorian house and a Colonial house. Marcia Cutlip will offer harp selections.
You’ll also have the opportunity to shop for North Reading-themed Christmas gifts, including maps, notecards, T-shirts, afghans and pewter ornaments.
The North Reading Minit and Militia will be at the Sgt. Flint House to tell visitors about how early settlers survived the hard winters.
The West Village Schoolhouse will also be displaying a historic-decorated Christmas tree with paper chains and candy canes. In addition, there will be information about the new Farm Museum that the North Reading Minit and Militia is planning to build on the Putnam House grounds.
The Chamber of Commerce is accepting donations from businesses and residents to purchase more lights and to deter the cost of the annual festival, which costs about $5,000 annually.
If you are interested in making a donation, please make your check out to the Reading-North Reading Chamber of Commerce and send it directly to the North Reading Holiday Lighting Fund, c/o Reading Co-operative Bank, 170 Park St., North Reading, MA 01864.