BERLIN – The town’s spring celebration will mark the start of what merchants hope is the beginning of a return to normal in Berlin.
The Spring Celebration of Hope, set for April 3, will include a variety of socially distanced activities meant to bring people to town in a safe way. It is expected to be just the first of many 2021 events in Berlin.
“We’re going to try to have every event we normally have but rework it so it’s safe,” said Steve Frene, deputy director of the Berlin Chamber of Commerce.
Instead of the classic egg hunt that drew hundreds of kids to a small area, organizers will hide eggs on the sidewalk along Main Street throughout the day. Rather than gathering attendees in one spot for an Easter bonnet contest, a selfie station will be set up with a hashtag participants can use for a social media contest. The Easter Bunny will be in town, but roaming from shop to shop, not sitting in one place.
The streets will also not be closed.
“The word we have gotten is neither the town nor the state are ready to grant road closures,” Frene said.
Nevertheless, he says everyone wants to avoid a situation like the one the town had in October, when so many visitors showed up for Octoberfest that the streets had to be closed. For the Spring Celebration of Hope, organizers have developed a back-up plan in case hordes of people do descend on Berlin.
“In the event that we had an unsafe situation with too many people, we’d relocate the bunny meet-and-greets to the lawn of the Taylor House Museum,” Frene said. “Typically the Spring Celebration is not a huge all day event.”
Merchants are hopeful the modified Spring Celebration will be the start of a better year in Berlin.
“We don’t want to just cancel everything,” said Mike Queen, president of the chamber.
He added that events were vital in that they brought visitors to town.
“That’s what it’s about — promoting Berlin,” he said.
While navigating the pandemic has been difficult for downtown shops, Queen said the impacts of the past year varied.
“It looks like some people are doing really good, others are hanging on by a thread, and others are opening up new businesses,” he said.
They’re all hoping for a good year in 2021, however, and the chamber is doing what it can to bring a sense of normalcy back to Berlin. Frene pointed out that the Spring Celebration’s name had been tweaked to include the word “hope.”
“Berlin is celebrating spring and hope,” Frene said, “as we get vaccinated, as all the metrics go down and we see light at the end of the tunnel and things start to return to normal.”
For more information on the Spring Celebration of Hope, which is set for April 3 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., visit the Berlin Maryland Chamber of Commerce page on Facebook.