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Berlin Christmas events set

(Nov. 19, 2015) Berlin takes Christmas seriously, transforming itself as it does into a Victorian downtown into a virtual Normal Rockwell painting.
This year, organizers say the slate of holiday events in Berlin include a few added twists, with an emphasis on its “Shop Local” campaign.
On Nov. 27 at 5:30 p.m., Mayor Gee Williams will light the Christmas tree, accompanied by Santa and Mrs. Claus and a variety of costumed Christmas characters.
Following the tree lighting, Santa will be available for photos in the Visitor’s Center. Pianist Eric Byrd will provide live music during the event, and the Casino at Ocean Downs will sponsor a live ice-sculpting demonstration.
On Dec. 3, the Berlin Christmas Parade will march down Main Street starting at 7 p.m. More than 80 floats, including adult- and student-sponsored floats, adult and children’s marching and performing units, fire companies, commercial units, vehicle clubs, motorcycles, antique cars, school bands, ROTC marching units and “crowned youth” will participate.  
Williams said the parade was, “all about having families, and especially children, coming out and doing something bright and festive.”
“That’s why we do it at night and we limit the entries, because experience has shown that we can guarantee the parents, grandparents and so forth that the parade will be over by 9 o’clock,” he said. “That encourages them to bring the little kids out and they’ll get home at a reasonable time and be able to get to school or daycare the next morning.”
On Dec. 5, Berlin will present Ed France for “Santa of the Presidents from noon-4 p.m. at the visitor’s center on 14 South Main Street. France has been a Whitehouse Santa since the 1970s.
The event also includes an appearance by Mrs. Claus during story time, along with Christmas characters walking the town and free hot chocolate at the visitor’s center.
Santa will also have a meet and greet at the visitor’s center from noon-3 p.m. on Dec. 12 and 19. Mrs. Claus will reprise her role during story time, and costumed characters will again walk through the downtown area.
Free horse and carriage rides will be offered on Saturdays and Sundays in December, noon to 3 p.m., in front of the visitor’s center.
The town will also offer a pair of promotions during the holiday season.
This year’s Win the Window contest will run Nov. 13 through Dec. 18 in Berlin, giving shoppers the chance to win $3,000 in merchandise and gift certificates.
For every $10 spent at a participating business, shoppers will receive an entry ticket, which can be used to enter the contest at any participating shop. There is a maximum of 10 tickets per shopper per business.
The drawing will be held on Dec. 18 at 3 p.m. Winners will not need to be present to win.
Look for the “Win the Window” poster to find participating businesses.
A “Letters for Santa” mailbox will be placed outside the visitor’s center. Santa will collect the letters and send each child a return letter with a coupon for a free treat at Baked Dessert Café, Berlin Coffee House or Rayne’s Reef.
Letters must be dropped off by Dec. 18.
Organizer Sharon Timmons, an administrative assistant with the office of economic and community development, said planning the annual Christmas events in Berlin is no easy task.
“It’s a lot of work and there’s a lot of volunteerism and we appreciate all the help we get,” she said. “If anybody wants to volunteer, give me a call. We’re more than happy to have them.”
For more information, call 410-973-2051 or visit