NORTH ORWELL - Hey, hall - you're lookin' good!

Volunteers have worked hard this summer to renovate the North Orwell Community Hall, along Route 187 between Rome and Nichols, N.Y. They're not done yet - and you can help.

"Our goal is to basically keep the hall going and update it," explains Marianne Hennip, trustee of the North Orwell Community Hall Association.

Built in 1958, the hall is about 100-by-50-feet and includes a large dining room, kitchen and restrooms.

Over the years it's been used for wedding receptions, family reunions, funeral dinners, proms, alumni banquets, Halloween and Christmas parties, penny socials and more. All those years and activities left the hall in need of some updates and sprucing up.

Talisman gave the association $1,500. That money went toward painting the bathrooms, front hallway and part of the kitchen, and getting a new sink, and new faucets and counters. That work was reported in a May article on the hall.

But now volunteers have done even more.

They've painted the rest of the inside, including a storage room (and the dining room is now a two-tone brown color); installed new windows; and put in a kitchen fan. Drivers going by will see the outside is now painted a shade of light green with vinyl siding and soffits above. "North Orwell Community Hall" proudly declares a matching sign above the door. Small flower beds grow beside the entrance. Posts are in place near the road for a second sign, and the flagpole and recycling building have also been painted.

Some volunteers have been painting "'til it's come out of their ears!" helper Cathy Rought insists. Her husband, Tom, is association president.

Perhaps one of the most unique touches at the hall is the Tribute Tree. At one end of the dining room, local artist Lora Antisdel has painted the 8-9-foot tree surrounded by stones. Area residents may buy metal "leaves" or "stones" to add to the scene, engraved with the names of friends or family in their honor or memory. A leaf costs $100 and a stone, $500 and up. The names will also be listed in a tribute book.

"People have been very generous" supporting the Tribute Tree, Marianne notes.

To buy a leaf or stone, contact Marianne at (570) 247-7233 or Deb Bolton at (570) 744-2531.

Some fundraising events also are in the works to support the hall.

First, a 5K race is planned for Saturday, Aug. 16, at Lake Bonin, in Orwell. Registration starts at 7:30 a.m. and the race, at 9.

"It's really pretty around the lake," Marianne comments. The course is fairly flat, she says.

Students involved with First Citizens Community Bank's Everfi program are organizing the race. Everfi is a program that teaches students about financial matters.

Then the next weekend, Old Home Day is set for the hall. The event begins at noon and runs into the evening, featuring a pig roast at 1 p.m., other food, music by Andy Boardman, a 50/50 raffle, a Chinese auction (drawing at 6 p.m.), a gun raffle drawing (5 p.m.) - and games, games, games. You can pitch horse shoes, send a local "celebrity" swimming at the dunking booth, hobble through a three-legged race, and on and on.

Organizers invite guests to bring local Little League memorabilia for display. Going along with that, they are planning a Wiffleball tournament.

At 7 p.m. a variety show is planned in the hall. Besides music, the show will feature scenes that MIGHT have happened at Percy Rogers' old store and the hall itself. Andy Boardman will serve as master of ceremonies.

Finally, on Oct. 11, the Pro Musica Singers will perform a concert benefiting the hall. The price is $15 and reservations are needed - call Jane Bullock at (570) 247-7124 or leave a message at the hall at (570) 247-2929.

Also, flea markets are held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Friday during good weather outside the hall. To set up a table ($10), call Dan Moore at (570) 247-7211.

The hall has a ways to go.

It still needs a new heating system, which will cost around $14,000; a stove, $5,000; and something to improve acoustics, $5,800-$9,000; plus inside lights. Plus, the hall costs $5,000-$6,000 a year just to maintain.

The association expects to get a grant to make the bathrooms handicapped-accessible.

So a lot's been done. But there's a lot to do.

And with everyone's help, that good-lookin' hall will get even better.