By MAUREEN DOHERTY
NORTH READING — We’ve been finding ourselves saying this often throughout the spring, summer and now, the early autumn: Saturday’s overcast skies and a bit of rain here and there did not deter the enthusiasm of those attending the 28th annual Apple Festival.
The blue ribbon for the best scratch apple pie in town in 2023 went to Jennifer Mooney Brown. Serving as judges were Marc Stein, Ankush Stewart, Lauren Feffer and Maya Ortiz who all agreed that her pie was excellent. Dozens upon dozens of slices of apple pie were served, many topped off with a delicious scoop of Richardson’s vanilla ice cream.
Music filled the air throughout the event, with performances by the NRHS Marching Band directed by Ben Owens, the NRHS internationally renowned and award-winning a cappella group NOTEtorious, and the town’s own chorus comprised of senior citizens, Senior Echoes, directed by Maria Cutlip. Dancers from the North Reading School of Ballet and martial arts students from Cervizzi’s Martial Arts also impressed the crowd.
The booths were abuzz with vendors selling their wares while community groups and politicians communicated their messages with attendees, with many offering kids’ games to entertain the little ones. All of the historic buildings on the grounds of the Rev. Daniel Putnam House were open for self-guided tours, including the farm museum, schoolhouse, Sgt. Flint House, First Meeting House, Tin and Metal shop, the barn and the 1720 Rev. Daniel Putnam House, which was draped in blue and black bunting. The bunting honored the memory of Patricia Romeo, a 52-year member of the North Reading Historical and Antiquarian Society whose funeral was held on the same day as the Apple Festival.
A past-president of the Society and House Director of the Putnam House as well as a past member of the Historic District Commission and Community Planning Commission, Mrs. Romeo was one of the Society members who founded the Apple Festival to support the ongoing restoration and maintenance needs of the restored buildings and grounds. Society members, Minit & Militia members, friends and festival attendees paused as her funeral procession drove up Haverhill Street en route to the Riverside Cemetery.
See photos from the Apple Festival here.