By Ally Lanasa, Staff Writer
(Nov. 26, 2020) Residents and visitors can stroll through downtown Berlin Friday to admire at least 23 three-foot carved ice sculptures by Erik Cantine during the “Ice Ice Berlin Art Sculptures Stroll & Holiday Shop Night.”
“Previously … it was called our Tree Lighting & Holiday Shop Night, and people would come down and everyone would gather,” said Ivy Wells, the town’s economic and community development director. “The mayor would give a speech and wish everyone well for the upcoming holiday season. We would sing, and we would do a countdown, and he would officially press the switch and the tree would be illuminated.”
The town’s ceremony, however, has been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, although the Christmas tree on the corner of Jefferson and Main streets will be lit and decorated.
“In front of the hotel in the street, ice artist Erik Cantine would start carving this giant ice sculpture, and people would all stand around and watch him carve it,” Wells recalled.
This year, sculptures that have been carved in advance will be shown in front of their business sponsors: Dolle’s Candyland, Heart of Gold Kids, Life’s Simple Pleasures, Fathom, Rayne’s Reef, Baked Dessert Café, Mike Poole Construction, East & Main Shore Supply, Worcester Goes Purple, Health Freedom, HOUSE, Treasure Chest, Beach Gypsy, Una Bella Salute, Bruder Hill, Bruder Home, Atlantic Retreat, Bird of Paradise, Madison Avenue Boutique, Pop’s Kitchen, Boxcar on Main and Worcester Youth & Family Counseling Services.
“The ice sculptures will be spread out. They’ll actually be located in the road,” Wells said. “We’ll have the road closed to traffic to allow for people to be able to keep themselves spaced apart and to be able to walk and enjoy the sculptures without standing in a big crowd.”
Shops will be open until 9 p.m. for the festivities.
Residents and visitors can partake of hot chocolate and holiday music with DJ Big Al Reno from Ocean98 Radio as they walk throughout town.
Children are invited to make pinecone bird feeders at 5 p.m. at the Calvin B. Taylor House Museum, 208 N. Main St.
“They’re going to mark off sections on the lawn of the museum where families can come, and they stay in their area, and then the volunteers from the museum bring the supplies to make the bird feeder craft to them,” Wells said. “Instead of kids standing around a table doing a craft, the volunteers will bring the supplies to each family.”
Worcester Youth & Family Counseling Services will also offer crafts to-go in front of its office, 124 N. Main St Suite C, from 5-8 p.m. or until supplies last.
“We will be handing out ornaments for kids to make at home for themselves or give as holiday gifts,” said Dr. Jennifer Leggour, executive director of Worcester Youth & Family Counseling Services. “We will also be serving hot chocolate.”
In place of Worcester Youth & Family Counseling Services’ annual Holiday Dinner, the agency will provide “Family Game Night” packages to participating families.
In addition, in partnership with Toys for Tots, Worcester Youth & Family Counseling Services will also give away gifts for children who have participated in its Berlin Youth Club, SAGES/SABERS, CASA programs, their siblings and several of the clients the agency serves.
Furthermore, the agency will create “Parenting Survival Toolkits” after the holidays and offer one family a “Local Winter Getaway” to help fight the winter blues.
Wells added that Cantine’s ice sculptures will be moved from the road to directly in front of each shop after the event on Friday.
“They’ll be insulated, so they last for Small Shop Saturday as well,” she said. “But with 60-degree weather, if you really want to see them in their full glory, you want to come out on Friday night from 5-9 p.m.”
Participate in Shop Safe Berlin on Small Business Saturday when shops are open between 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“We’re a Shop Small community partner,” Wells said. “We’ve been designated that, so they sent us free ‘Shop Small’ re-useable bags.”
With the Berlin Welcome Center being closed to the public, she added that 50 ‘Shop Small’ bags will be given away downtown, starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
Each of the shops will have a supply of free hand warmers if shoppers are cold as part of a sponsorship from the Berlin Main Street Program, Wells said.
Heart of Gold Kids at 27 N. Main St. will offer 20 percent off clothing and 50 percent off sale items from Friday to Sunday.
Life’s Simple Pleasures, 1 S. Main St., will offer sales for Small Business Saturday, and if weather permitting, outdoor racks of apparel and gifts.
Dolle’s Candyland at 1 S. Main St. Unit B. will offer 50 percent off all gifts in-store.
Baked Dessert Café, 4 Bay St., will offer special pricing on sweet and savory treats. Local artist vendors will be set up at the adjacent outdoor space during the weekend, owner Robin Tomaselli said.
Matthew Amey, co-owner of Wooden Octopus at 8 Jefferson St., said there will be a tent in the driveway featuring artwork for sale, weather permitting.
Although Fathom, 14 N. Main St., will not have any discounts on Saturday, there will be an apparel rack in front of the boutique for safer shopping.
Melissa Stover, owner of Victorian Charm at 100 N. Main St., said the boutique will likely not have any outdoor racks or tables because of the weather.
“We will however be limiting the amount of people in the store,” Stover said. “We are also offering private shopping times before and after regular store hours. You can call and schedule a time and shop with no other shoppers in the store.”
To schedule an appointment, call 410-641-2998.
Mayor Zackery Tyndall issued a Civil Emergency Declaration that went into effect Monday, closing the Berlin Welcome Center, as well as Town Hall and the Planning and Zoning building, to the public.
The declaration also requires face coverings to be worn downtown Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. as well as Dec. 11 for 2nd Friday from 4-9 p.m.
“It’s going to be cold, and the mask keeps your face warm,” Wells said.
Berlin is also hosting a “Lights Up the Town Contest” and tour on Dec. 11.
Residents within the town limits can enter for free by Dec. 1 to compete in the house decorating contest. Awards include the Clark Griswold Award for brightest display, the Kevin McCallister Award for most creative home, the George Bailey Award for most traditional home and the Charles Dickens Award for most ‘spirited’ one of all.
Judges will select the winners. There will also be a special social media People’s Choice Award.
Signs will be placed in the winners’ yards and they will receive gifts from downtown businesses.
Homes must be decorated by Dec. 11. A map of the homes participating in the contest will be available the first week of December.
To register, visit berlinmainstreet.com/entry.