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Tree lighting signals start of Berlin’s 150th anniversary

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By Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(Nov. 30, 2017) Mayor Gee Williams threw the switch Saturday night on what he called a “very special” town Christmas tree, unofficially kicking off a yearlong celebration.

“It’s going to be a very special year, here in America’s coolest small town,” Williams said during the tree lighting. “With deep appreciation for our past … [and] with great hope and optimism for the future, let us together begin the celebration of the Town of Berlin’s 150th anniversary next year.”

Berlin incorporated as a town in 1868 and now is one of 157 municipalities in the state.

Williams said Monday that planning for the anniversary is still “at the beginning of the beginning.” Rather than have one specific event to highlight the sesquicentennial, the anniversary would be commemorated during town-sponsored events throughout 2018, he said.

“I just find, that way, everybody gets to share in it and we don’t have to create another event just for this purpose,” he said. “We can do a variety of things for all the different residents and guests, and over the course of the year, hopefully everyone has a chance to in some way enjoyably commemorate or experience our 150th anniversary.”

A lifelong Berliner, Williams said he is thrilled to be able to preside over the occasion as mayor.

“I hope that it helps everyone who lives here or enjoys visiting to appreciate and respect the past this town has had, and the fact this town has overcome many hurdles to get where it is today,” Williams said. “We also need to recognize there are more opportunities than there have ever been, and it’s up to what people want and are willing to do. It’s not all about town government – it takes everybody.

“The more people that get involved in community building, the better things get,” he continued. “From working with kids to recreation to entertainment to supporting arts and culture, it all depends on the participation and support of our town citizens, which right now I think is at a higher rate than it’s ever been.”

For a full list of town events, visit www.berlinmainstreet.com/events.