Berlin Offering MASKerade Contest

BERLIN – A new promotion aims to encourage mask wearing in downtown Berlin.

As mask shaming makes headlines amid the ongoing health crisis, officials in Berlin are trying to be proactive with a new social media contest. Ivy Wells, the town’s economic and community development director, said this week people who entered the contest would be entered to win $100 in Berlin bucks.

“When you wear a mask you make everyone feel comfortable,” Wells said. “Berlin is being proactive. We encourage mask wearing and we’ll reward you for it.”

She said that while there have not yet been problems in Berlin associated with face mask requirements, she thought it would be a good idea to host a promotion celebrating mask wearing. To participate, entrants simply have to post on Facebook or Instagram a photo of themselves wearing a mask in Berlin with the tag “#BerlinMASKerade to have their name entered in a drawing to win $100 that can be spent at downtown shops and restaurants. The winner will be randomly selected on July 27.

Another promotion the town is kicking off is Christmas in July. Next week visitors will notice some holiday décor and various shop specials. There will also be free carriage rides from 9-11 a.m. at Sunday’s Berlin Farmers Market.

Christmas in July comes in the wake of successful Second Friday festivities in Berlin. On July 10 shops were open late and the town hosted live music as people strolled down Main Street. Wells said the event was crowded but not stifling.

“People are tired of being inside,” she said. “Berlin is such a nice place to walk around.”

Because the event went so well, Wells is exploring the idea of hosting something similar each Friday. While she has not yet gotten feedback on whether local shops would be interested in participating each week, she says the bluegrass band Stevenson’s Crossroads will be set up downtown again July 17.

Wells said that despite the troubles that have come with the pandemic, local shops were recognized this month when Berlin was named the “Best Small Town for Shopping” by USA Today. The title came after Berlin received the most online votes.

“We encouraged people to vote for us and we were number one the whole time,” Wells said.

She says the title helped gain the town attention at a time when Berlin’s merchants need all the attention they can get. While the pandemic has hurt business, Berlin shops are surviving. Wells hopes the public continues to support Berlin’s unique businesses.

“One of the things people love is we have such a variety and eclectic mix,” she said. “Plus we have so many things that are actually made here.”

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.