Berlin brings in holiday with music, food and fun

July 5, 2018

Thunderstorms and intense heat could not stop people from heading to Berlin Brothersvalley Community Grove to celebrate Independence Day.

Crowds of people braved the weather to enjoy the July Fourth celebration that included the Roof Garden Tractor Buddies square dancing, various concerts and fireworks.

Terry Stahl, from Frostburg, Maryland, said he comes to Berlin every year to be with family on the holiday and he wasn’t going to miss a year due to some “sprinkles.”

“(Independence Day) is a time to celebrate with your family,” he said. “I’m not going to miss it just cause the skies begin to open up.”

Grove President David Holliday said much of the picnic and events are thanks to local people trying to help out in their local community. The more than 40-year-old event attracts more than 1,200 people coming to see the fireworks.

“Each year we try to make it a little better and be a little more involved,” he said.

Holliday said volunteers were worried about the thunderstorms because they could impact the fireworks, but added the fireworks would go off even if they had to wait for the storm to pass.

Other than food, volunteers said everything in the park is free for visitors.

“We don’t charge anyone to park, listen to music or watch the fireworks,” he said. “It’s just a family oriented event.”

Jackson Hay, of the band The NextGen, said he’s come to the picnic for years, when he performed with his grandparents many years ago.

“We kind of stepped on stage holding a guitar, never playing anything,” he said. “And now we do.”

The band is playing their fourth year at the event, with versions of gospel, bluegrass and country music. Alex Hay, Jackson’s brother and bandmate, said it’s a great experience to come listen to people perform at the grove.

“It’s nice to listen to groups up there,” he said. “I really like them old-time fiddle songs.”

Holliday said everything about the picnic and its events delve into different versions of “Americana” for the visitors.

“It’s America’s celebration, and we like to keep it that way,” he said.

But for Stahl, the event is all about celebrating the simple things.

“All I need is a hot dog in my hand and some fireworks in the sky,” he said.

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