BERLIN – The Berlin Block Party and Bathtub Race will take over downtown Berlin this weekend.
The Berlin Chamber of Commerce and Believe in Tomorrow have teamed up to combine the two events into one day of family fun.
Wayne Littleton has been the program coordinator for the Children’s House by the Sea for 17 years, but last year was his first time planning a block party. This year, the Berlin Block Party returns in conjunction with a town tradition, the 29th Annual Berlin Bathtub Race.
The funds from these events keep the lights on at Children’s House, but Littleton still prioritizes the experience.
“It’s a fine line. We got to make it a fundraiser for us, but I want it to be fun,” Littleton said.
Though the event benefits Believe in Tomorrow, Littleton wanted the event to be accessible to all children.
“Twenty dollars to me can be entirely different to what $20 means to you,” Littleton said.
Kids can play in a bounce house provided by Sonrise Church and meet characters like Captain America and the Shorebirds’ mascot Sherman, all for free.
The pay activities include raffles, an auction and games.
Ticket winners will be able to exchange them for prizes.
“I want to make it a fun day, almost arcade-style,” Littleton said.
Before the bathtub race, the block party attendees will be able to purchase tickets for $1 to vote for their favorite tub.
“The tubs will be lined up along Pitt Street in a kind of ‘Bathtub Boulevard,’” Littleton said.
Race attendees can use their tickets to place bets on the tub they want to win.
A ticket will be drawn from the winning tub and the winner will receive a prize package with a value of at least $300, Littleton said.
The prize is set to include a gift card to a local restaurant and tickets to Believe in Tomorrow’s Beach Bash dining event at Seacrets on Sept. 24.
All the proceeds raised will benefit Believe in Tomorrow’s Children’s House by the Sea.
Like any good party, the Berlin Block Party will have plenty of food and music.
Block party attendees will have their choice of Salisbury’s Sobo’s on the Road and Berlin’s The Street Kitchen food trucks or one of the restaurants in the downtown area.
Burley Oak and Island Creamery will be collaborating to make ice cream floats with Burley Oak root beer and Island Creamery ice cream for the event.
Blind Wind, a father-son musical duo that consists of 15-year-old blind harmonica player Cole Moran and his father Frankie Moran, will perform at the block party. Cole Moran has been a part of the Believe in Tomorrow program, said Littleton.
There will be around 12 teams competing in the bathtub race, including one sponsored by Believe in Tomorrow, said Ivy Wells, economic and community development director for Berlin.
This is the first year that the Berlin Bathtub Race has partnered with a non-profit, Wells said.
Littleton hopes to make $10,000 for Believe in Tomorrow from the fundraiser but said he will not regret the event if they do not meet that goal. “Whatever we make is more than we had,” Littleton said. “Money is not always everything.”
The block party will run from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday, June 23. The bathtub race will begin with the parade of tubs at 4:30 p.m. The actual race begins at 5 p.m. and will run down Main Street from Commerce Street to Jefferson Street.