BERLIN – A first of its kind fireworks show tops the list of town events for 2016.
Ivy Wells, the town’s economic development director, shared plans for a July 3 fireworks show to be held on the former Tyson property — now known as Berlin Falls — with the town council this week. The event is one of more than two dozen the council approved for the coming year.
Wells wanted to bring fireworks to town last year but hadn’t been able to find a suitable site. With the town’s purchase of the 60-plus acre property on Old Ocean City Boulevard, this year there will be a usable location.
“We wanted to add to the whole July 4 celebration,” Wells said.
The fireworks show, set for July 3 so as not to compete with the displays offered in neighboring municipalities, would be the first in recent memory in Berlin on the holiday. Wells said that while they would be shot off from the Tyson property, the fireworks should be visible to most in town.
“We’re hoping people will be able to see them from most locations,” she said.
Wells said she that while the town would be putting on the show, she would be seeking sponsorships from area businesses as fireworks were expensive. One business that has already expressed interest in supporting the new event is Burley Oak Brewery. Owner Bryan Brushmiller said that he planned to cordon off the brewery’s parking lot so that families could set up lawn chairs to watch the show.
The fireworks show is the only new event on this year’s town schedule, which as approved by town officials this week includes 27 events. Several from years past have been combined. The Berlin Little League Parade will take place the same day as the Berlin Spring Celebration. The town’s May Day Play Day has been merged with the Cool Berlin celebration and will take place May 13. In addition, the Berlin Peach Festival has been combined with the town’s heritage fair on Aug. 6.
Wells told the council one event on the list, the Berlin High Heel Race, might be canceled, as officials from Women Supporting Women, the charity the event has benefited in years past, said they no longer wanted to participate.
Because the June 3 event, the night before the Berlin Jazz and Blues Bash, had already been advertised, Wells said she was considering working with another charity to make it happen.
“A lot of the event cards had already gone out so I may solicit another non-profit,” she said. “It has to be a fit. I’m not going to accept something that doesn’t fit.”
Wells added that the town’s outdoor movie nights hadn’t been included on the list because their dates had not yet been finalized.
In addition to approving the town’s events for 2016, council members this week also endorsed Brushmiller’s slate of beer festivals. The outdoor gatherings, known as Explore Berlin Festivals, have been held on his property the past three years. Typically, the brewery fences off its parking lot and sets up beer stations and offers live music. In addition, local merchants set up their wares for sale.
“We initially started this program to give back to the town of Berlin,” Brushmiller said.
He said he was again seeking the town’s endorsement of the events, set for April 23, June 11 and Sept. 17, so he could get permission from the county’s liquor licensing board to go forward with them.
“What we’re trying to do is use craft beer to promote Burley Oak and that flows over into the town,” he said. “I can’t tell you how happy I am to be here and have the opportunity to support everyone in the town.”
The council voted unanimously to endorse the events.