Blessing Of Wheels Event Set For Berlin

BERLIN – Town officials this week approved a new event that aims to celebrate non-motorized transportation.

The Berlin Town Council on Monday gave support to the new event, Earth Day Blessing of the Wheels, scheduled for April 22.

“Personally I think it’s wonderful,” Mayor Gee Williams said. “I expect a heck of a turnout.”

The event, proposed by resident Gussie Sholtis, will take place on April 22 from noon to 3 p.m. at Stephen Decatur Park. Sholtis plans to invite people who use all sorts of non-motorized transportation to the park for a non-denominational blessing.

“My idea is to have an event that celebrates the use of non-motorized modes of transportation,” Sholtis said.

By non-motorized, she means everything from strollers to skateboards to wheelchairs.

“I’ve spoken to a number of people in these different categories and everyone’s been on board,” she said.
Sholtis, who works at Sheppard Realty on Main Street, says the idea for Blessing of the Wheels came to her as she watched people pass by her office using all sorts of wheeled transportation.

“I watch people commute to work on their bicycles,” she said. “I watch parents push their babies in strollers. I watch our parents and grandparents window shop using their walkers and wheelchairs all thanks to the safe and well maintained sidewalks and bicycle lanes we have in Berlin.”

In addition to the non-denominational blessing, which will be performed by the Rev. Stanislao Esposito of Holy Savior Catholic Church. Sholtis says the event will include nature-themed games and crafts in honor of Earth Day. She said there were plans for a scavenger hunt, tree identification tour and even a short race for seniors.

“I wanted to do a .10K race for the seniors with their walkers,” she said. “That first little loop around the tennis court just happens to measure .10 kilometers.”

Williams praised the concept and said it had the potential to become an annual event. He added that it was fitting to host it at Stephen Decatur Park to bring attention to one of the town’s public spaces. He said the land that makes up the park, which was donated to the town by the Phillips family in the 1970s, was both a natural asset and a place that the public could find enjoyment.

“I think it’s a very appropriate way to bring the park to life,” Williams said.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.