BERLIN – One of the last things that will happen in town this year is the inauguration of an event unlike any of the others to be experiences on the Eastern Shore for New Year’s Eve. What’s ironic about the plan is that it grew out of the notion that Berlin might be well served to take a page out of other municipalities’ approach to ringing in the New Year.
New Years Eve committee chair and Main Street design committee member Barb Stack thought the town should consider having a “First Night” type celebration, centered on children and going home early. As she fleshed the idea out it morphed into a more traditional notion of a New Year’s Eve street party that would be kid-friendly but not kid centered.
“I went to the mayor and he and [director of community and economic development] Michael [Day] loved the idea,” she said. “They told me to run with it.”
Stack likes to joke that she conceived of the idea with the full expectation that someone else would be in charge of putting it together. But while she’s not totally without help the primary responsibility is hers.
Day recently purchased a ball to be lowered above the clock across the street from the Atlantic Hotel at midnight and Stack is rounding up support and coordinating among the various town restaurants to make sure they’re all on the same page.
The Atlantic Hotel has a ticketed event for New Year’s Eve but confirmed that the Drummer’s Cafe will be open to the public after 9 p.m. The Globe will serve specials in addition to its regular menu and is taking reservations for the dining room. Both restaurants’ bars will be open late.
The ideal night will likely include a kind of limited bar hopping, between the two places since people may come and go throughout the evening, seeking warmth at alternating establishments as the party continues on outside.
Stack said they’ve arranged to make horse and carriage rides available thought the evening. Unlike during the weeks leading up to Christmas, there will be a small fee for the ride, but it’s the only nighttime ride of its kind. Stack said they’re considering different routes that best highlight the town’s most well-decorated streets and houses.
The plan is to make the evening traditional without making it stodgy, which is why they’ve secured “Paul O The D.J.” to provide entertainment. Day said there will also be a bar outside on the Atlantic Hotel courtyard. The hope is to have lots of dancing and merrymaking out in the street prior to midnight and hopefully add another “can’t miss” event to the Berlin calendar.
Stack said people attending are encouraged to bring pots and pans and other noisemakers to help ring in the New Year and emphasized that families are both welcomed and encouraged.
Day said depending both on turnout and enthusiasm the event might eventually become a combination “First Night” and New Year’s Eve party with children’s events starting in the late afternoon and the more grownup geared events kicking in later in the evening.
While the carriage rides will be available beginning at 8:30 p.m. the DJ comes on at 10:30 p.m. The lights and rig to effect the countdown and ball drop will be provided by the Berlin Electric Co.