By Jack Chavez, Staff Writer
Season begins with 16th edition of Main St. festival
(May 4, 2023) Vivacious vintners and toe-tapping trumpeters converge once again this Saturday as the Berlin Chamber of Commerce’s Jazz, Blues, Wine and Brews returns for its 16th year.
The Main Street corridor will be cordoned off to make way for several musical acts and upwards of 30 vendors ranging from local breweries, wineries, artisans and nonprofits.
“It’s a big kickoff to the event season on the shore,” said Berlin Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ryan Nellans. “It is an excellent chance to get a taste of what it is that we do locally, pun intended. It’s an exhibition of a lot of the art and crafts that our vendors have been honing over the winter.”
This year’s musical acts are headlined by jazz and blues outfit the Nighthawks. They’ll be preceded by the Rodney Kelley Jazz Experience, the Lowercase Blues and the Salisbury University Jazz Ensemble.
On top of the traditional offerings indicated by the event’s namesake, also on-hand will be photographers, traditional art and snap vendors like Claire’s Nutting Concoctions and Eastern Shore Kettle Korn, Nellans said.
Crowd favorites Silver Sun, Happy Now Creations and Images of Assateague will be returning, and Nellans promised a few new ones “that’ll be interesting,” including CP Tackle, run by a young man who makes his own fishing rigs.
Personally, Nellans said he is looking forward to the Lower Case Blues on the music side and also having a “much wider” selection of beverages on-hand.
“In years past we had a truck that was just Burley Oak but right now the plan at least is to have (them), Evolution, Buzz Meadery as well as some Miller Lite and Coors products on draft at three different stations,” he said. “(This way), we don’t have the big line that we had at Oktoberfest (last year) which was not popular at all.”
From a logistics standpoint, they’re just in a better place than they have been in previous years, Nellans said.
Restaurants are open every day. Live music can be found every weekend — and this time of year virtually every day. But what makes Jazz, Blues, Wine and Brews a must-attend event?
“It’s a good time,” Nellans said. “You can go to the movies any day of the week. This is a once-a-year opportunity to see some of the best bands from D.C. to Philly that live and work in this area. The Night Hawks are a Maryland-D.C. band, the Rodney Kelly Jazz Experience is also Maryland-DC-based. Lower Case Blues are your buddies from down the street. Dr. (Jerry) Tabor (of the Salisbury University Jazz Ensemble) is a well-respected musician and organizer.
“This is a great place to come, hang out, enjoy the beautiful weather we’re going to have and have a drink and kick back and relax.”
Jazz, Blues, Wine and Brews is free to attend for all ages and goes from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Beer and wine tasting tickets cost $35 and premium tickets that include a swag bag cost $50. Visit https://berlinmainstreet.com/jazz-blues-wine-brews/ for more information.