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The Cooperage Project celebrating 10 years

Whether through entertainment or education, a group in Honesdale has worked to make the community a better place for more than a decade.

HONESDALE, Pa. — When you pass by the brick building with the big red doors on Main Street in Honesdale, this is what the people who run the place want you to think: "That place looks like there's a lot going on, and I want to be a part of it," Arrah Fisher said. 

That was Fisher's reaction when she first spotted the building that houses The Cooperage Project.

Fisher is now the executive director of this nonprofit community hub that's celebrating ten years of service.

"I'm a musician, so I was drawn to the space initially as a place to go see live music, an art scene, a music scene. And then I started learning about all the things that happen here, like the farmers market, and then I was brought on to help with the youth programs, and I was blown away," Fisher said.

Yes, all of that happens under one roof. And that's only just scratching the surface of all the programs offered.

On the stage alone, you can watch a musical theater performance one night, then get up there yourself for open mic night the next.

"Even if there's three people in the crowd or there's 300 people in the crowd when live music is happening, you just feel in the moment connected to everyone in the room," said sound engineer Nick Bedo.

But it's not just about entertainment at the Cooperage. Between farmers markets, supplying meals for seniors, and snacks for students, Jenna Mauder, the head of the agriculture and food program, is always busy.

"We really saw the value of it when COVID shut everything down, and the large-scale system kind of crumbled a little bit," said Mauder.

The Cooperage transformed into an emergency food pantry during the pandemic.

Another huge service The Cooperage provides is its youth programs.

"They're having fun, but they're building these human skills that are so essential for navigating relationships and communication. They're also discovering what lights them up," said Amanda Masters, youth program manager.

Ten years ago, none of this existed. The founders took over a vacant building and started from scratch.

"It just kept growing, and people were so welcoming, and from a very small beginning, it has grown into something that really has an amazing impact on the community," said founding board member Pennell Whitney.

You can help The Cooperage Project celebrate its tenth birthday this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with free activities, street performances, live music, and food.

Click here for more details.

Check out WNEP's YouTube channel.  

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