This week’s celebration surrounding Berlin’s victory in Budget Travel’s America’s Coolest Small Town poll was funny, charming and special.
That makes it appropriate for Berlin, a town that is just that — funny, charming and special. While other words like historic, beautiful and quaint are more often used in advertising and marketing materials, we prefer the other three after a short walk through town this week.
On one block was a Sheppard Realty representative gladly handing out yellow cups with the company logo on one side and the smallest town designation on the other. Nearby was an unleased dog that was passed out in the middle of the sidewalk seemingly unaware of passing pedestrians or the clever song touting the town of Berlin that was playing obnoxiously loud over a nearby speaker system.
Indeed, Berlin deserved this honor and did it in impressive fashion. It truly was a team effort worthy of celebrating for weeks, months and years to come.
In the 30 years this newspaper has been based in Berlin, we have seen it all. There have been proud, impressive and successful renaissances that were preceded by dismal, embarrassing and gloomy economic times.
While historians might point to the town’s reinvention of itself in the 1980s as more integral for its long-term sustainability, the current boom in Berlin has been unprecedented because not only does it involve a surge in the residential population and commercial interest, it also brings with it a diverse explosion in community pride.
It was quite remarkable in recent months to watch this community rally together and vote for Berlin in this online poll. There were 137,819 votes cast between the 15 towns in the final round with Berlin receiving 39,285, or about 28 percent of the vote. It was an impressive win for the town, but it’s really a victory for the small-knit community that generated the interest and sustained it.
It clearly is one of the town’s high points and it should be used as a marketing tool in the future years to come, as was, and still is, the case when Hollywood called on the town.
“Runway Bride” brought big names to the area like Richard Gere, Julia Roberts and Garry Marshall in the late-1990s. A few years later, “Tuck Everlasting” brought smaller box office names but left us with some images we will never forget, such as the entire Main Street corridor being covered with sand to recreate the period piece.
Those movies being filmed here along with this week’s victory and collaborative effort that made it possible are a few of the most special recent memories that make us glad to call this town our home and our workplace.