BERLIN – In spite of rain showers throughout much of the holiday weekend, Berlin officials are calling the town’s first ever Fourth of July celebration a resounding success.
The town, in cooperation with Burley Oak Brewery and other local sponsors, hosted its inaugural fireworks show July 3.
“I am very pleased that residents from every neighborhood in the town of Berlin were able to watch the fireworks display from their homes,” Berlin Mayor Gee Williams said. “I have received thanks from folks in east, south and west Berlin who said it was so very nice to get together with friends and neighbors and watch the fireworks celebration from their homes.”
This spring, town officials agreed to earmark $5,000 for a fireworks display in honor of Independence Day.
“As with many other events and services, the Town of Berlin is always looking for good partners who will provide volunteers, services, expertise and especially money, to make good things happen in our community,” Williams said. “The first Fourth of July Fireworks celebration is just one more example of this approach towards providing quality of life experiences that many towns simply cannot offer to their residents and guests.”
Burley Oak Brewery, located just across the street from the Berlin Falls Park location of the fireworks, quickly agreed to donate $5,000 for the show. Nicky Chavis, the brewery’s general manager, worked with Berlin Economic Development Director Ivy Wells to coordinate additional fundraising efforts. Wells said Urban Nectar also played a role in the planning process.
Williams said the joint effort paid off July 3 when hundreds turned out for the fireworks show and family celebration at Burley Oak.
“I was especially pleased to see so many families with people of all ages attending and enjoying the variety of activities that were offered,” he said.
Wells agreed and said she was thrilled with the turnout.
“It exceeded my expectations,” Wells said, adding that the town received lots of positive comments on its Facebook page. “I filmed it using Facebook Live so all who couldn’t make it out could see part of it.”
Wells said she wanted to thank Worcester County Chief Deputy Fire Marshal Matt Owens, the Berlin Fire Company and the Berlin Police Department for their help during the 17-minute fireworks display.
Williams said the event was well received by citizens but that there would likely be some changes next year. He says he believes more portable restrooms in the vicinity of Berlin Falls Park are needed as well as additional trash cans. He says that if Burley Oak hosts a dunking booth again at next year’s event, it will need more water.
“I really enjoyed being dunked by the event’s youngest guests but due to the low water level I have a really sore butt,” Williams said. “I’ll survive while my most strident critics will celebrate.”
Williams said that because the event was so well attended, the town might need to consider closing a portion of Old Ocean City Boulevard next year.
“There would be some kinks to work out, but nothing as complicated as the town has dealt with over the past few years in hosting other highly successful and very well attended town events downtown on Main Street,” he said.
Williams said he hoped the fireworks would become an annual tradition in Berlin.
“The first-ever … fireworks in Berlin is one more in a long line of examples of how Berlin’s 21st century renaissance continues to create so many more possibilities as long as various groups and businesses in the community are willing to partner with the town,” Williams said.