BERLIN — Over the last few years, each new town-wide event is more surprising than the last, drawing well over the expected number of attendees. But even in that light, last year’s inaugural May Day Play Day was a notable success. This week, in anticipation of the upcoming event, Mayor Gee Williams cited WOCM-98.1, the radio station that conceived of, organized and promoted the event for all of their work and commitment to the town.
While the better part of the Town’s events are planned and run by either the Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Merchants Association or the Town itself, the addition of May Day Play Day is more an unexpected gift from a friendly neighbor and it was in recognition of that, as much as anything else, that the station was honored with the proclamation.
“We are definitely a town that enjoys a celebration,” Williams said as part of his introduction. “Life is something to be celebrated, not suffered.”
It was Berlin’s disposition to have well organized, well attended events as well as the predilection to close down the center of Town to accommodate a party, that has been its major asset when it comes to hosting events. Something about a street part draws people and captures their attention in a way that heightens the experience.
David "Bulldog" Rothner, who runs the station as well as hosting The Rude Awakening Show each morning was on hand with two of the station’s popular D.J.s, Big Al Reno and D.J. B.K. to accept the proclamation on behalf of the radio station.
Although he joked briefly with Williams and the meeting attendees, Rothner said he was proud to be associated both with the event and the Town.
“You guys are lucky to be living in a place like this,” he said. “That’s for sure.”
May Day Play Day is an annual rock music festival featuring some of the best local rock acts, both established and up-and-coming. Last year’s event, though expected to draw only a few hundred in its first year, had attendance numbers estimated closer to 1,000 and this year, weather permitting, it is expected to top even that.
Although the street aspect is a significant draw, the fact that the station promotes it so heavily has an affect on attendance. As co-sponsors with the their name attached, Ocean 98.9 goes out of their way to promote the show even more than they do with the other Town events they announce. It was a fact that was not lost on Williams.
“I think you guys ‘get’ Berlin and we ‘get’ you guys,” he said.
This year’s May Day Play Day slated 5-9 p.m. Friday, May 11 will feature five bands: The Electric Company, Kaleb Brown, The Bryan Russo band, Saltwater String Band, Reedo & The Front Porch Offering in addition to games, vendors, and a kid’s talent show.
Some of the new attractions include a dunking booth attended by local celebrities and a giant tricycle race.
Although the open container laws will be suspended for the afternoon, May Day Play Day is a family-friendly event. For more May Day Play Day info visit the Ocean 98.1 Website: www.irieradio.com.