• Primo Maggio fest starts on the day
     | April 30,2013

    BARRE — Primo Maggio is Wednesday in Barre, and while this year’s celebration will include a pair of weekend events, the kickoff will fittingly be held May 1 at the Old Labor Hall on Granite Street.

    The original Primo Maggio celebration was organized by Barre granite workers shortly after the Socialist Labor Hall opened in 1901. Members of the Barre Historical Society revived the tradition in 2004, and it has become a signature annual event.

    Wednesday’s celebration will begin with a cash bar at 5 p.m., followed by a brick-oven pizza dinner at 6 p.m. and the 7 p.m. readings of five local authors and two city officials.

    Before the readings Ben Koenig will sing the classic labor anthem “The Internationale” and, joined by his Anything Goes partner, Mark Greenberg, a 1950s song about Barre.

    Award-winning children’s author Katherine Paterson will be joined by fellow local authors Patricia Belding, Tom Davis, Ed Granai and Roberta Harold.

    Mayor Thomas Lauzon and City Clerk Carol Dawes are also scheduled to read.

    Lauzon will read an excerpt from “Hidden History of Barre,” a book by Belding’s son, Russell, and Dawes will read from Paul Heller’s “Granite City Tales.”

    Ilene Gillander, a retired Spaulding High School English teacher and drama coach, will read an excerpt from “Like Lesser Gods,” Mari Tomasi’s tribute to Barre’s granite workers.

    Admission to Celebrate Barre is by donation, and proceeds will benefit the Labor Hall.

    For more information call 456-7456 or go to www.oldlaborhall.com.

    This weekend’s events include a traditional Italian dinner at the Mutuo Soccorso Hall on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. and a showing of the labor film “Salt of the Earth” at the Old Labor Hall on Sunday at 4 p.m.

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