Berlin Council Approves ‘Winter White Gala’ Event

BERLIN – A gala planned for downtown Berlin will benefit Worcester County Habitat for Humanity.

Last week, the Berlin Town Council approved a special event request from Habitat for Humanity for a “Winter White Gala” on the lawn of the Calvin B. Taylor House Museum.

Olive Mawyer, event and marketing coordinator for Worcester County Habitat for Humanity, told the council the organization was requesting approval of alcohol, electricity and access to the museum’s driveway for setup purposes.

“This is our biggest fundraiser that we do every year,” she said. “We are changing it up a little bit this year and we’re bringing it back into downtown Berlin. We are going to do a tented, heated event on Dec. 2, “Winter White,” and it will be really classy. We’re hoping we can get your approval to go ahead with that.”

Jan Quick of the Taylor House Museum expressed her support for the event.

“This goes to their charity, but we are in approval,” she said. “I am here to put our stamp of approval on it. We would like to have them use the lawn. This will be the first time using the lawn in a very big way and hope that it turns out to be lovely.”

Andrea Bowland, executive director of Worcester County Habitat for Humanity, said this year’s gala will be different from prior fundraising events.

“We typically change it every two years to keep it fresh and because of our upcoming project on Jefferson Street we wanted to bring it back into downtown Berlin and change it up,” she said.

Town Administrator Laura Allen told the council the organization was aware of any potential construction on the adjacent Baker Street.

“We did talk to them about Baker Street and the likelihood that the Baker Street project will be underway in some fashion,” she said. “So they are aware of that potential issue.”

Mawyer said the construction would not interfere with the event.

“I don’t think that is going to impact our setup because the entrance is going to be in the front of the Taylor House and over,” she said. “We weren’t expecting to use Baker Street for parking. I think we shouldn’t have a problem with that. It will be tented, so there will be a wall where they can’t see Baker Street.”

Mawyer added that the fundraiser’s attendees would either park in the town’s two main parking lots or walk from their nearby homes.

“That is what we are expecting and considering that a large amount of people attending live right in downtown Berlin I imagine they can just walk,” she said.

Councilman Troy Purnell praised the event.

“I think it’s a fantastic idea,” he said. “I love the concept.”

Councilman Thom Gulyas asked if the organization had applied for an alcohol permit from the Worcester County Board of License Commissioners (BLC).

Mawyer said she still needs the approval from the BLC for an alcohol permit, but will do so once the organization gets the council’s approval.

The council voted 3-1, with Councilman Elroy Brittingham absent and Councilman Thom Gulyas opposed, to approve the special event request.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.