Berlin celebrates 70th Independence Day celebration

Residents can attend the well-known parade, a patriotic 5K, as well as other American pride festivities

July 4 in Berlin feels like a Norman Rockwell painting, Mayor James Bilella said. It is small town America throwing a big community celebration to honor everything that is great about this country.

Marking 70 years of Fourth of July celebrations, this year’s Independence Day parade is expected to draw thousands of community members from Berlin and surrounding areas.

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Organized by residents of Berlin Borough and Berlin Township, along with the Inter Community Celebration Association Committee, a “community funded, nonprofit volunteer,” the parade will feature marching bands, themed floats, classic cars, bicycles and more.

According to ICCA President Bill Adair’s letter to the community, the Berlin parade is known as one of the area’s best celebrations.

“It’s a great parade and it gets better every year,” Adair said. “About 8,000 to 10,000 people attend, and the crowds keep getting bigger every year.”

The parade will begin at 9 a.m. at the West Berlin Firehouse and continue through downtown Berlin on the White Horse Pike and West Broad Avenue. Community organizations, schools, churches and businesses are encouraged to enter a patriotic float, while classic cars and military vehicles are also welcome. Lineup will begin at 7:45 a.m. Decorated bicycles can register at the township Municipal Building on Bate Avenue by 8:15 a.m. A rain date is scheduled for July 8.

“This is our community’s way of supporting America and the founding of America,” Bilella said. “It’s another day to remember the freedoms we have, how they came to be and appreciate all we have as a country. It’s important to celebrate and remember all of our freedoms, and take a moment to appreciate them and those who sacrificed to make them happen.”

Besides the parade, community members can show their patriotism with other events taking place on July 4. The annual Berlin Parade 5K and Walk registration will begin at 7:30 a.m. at the Berlin Borough Town Hall. The 5K race, which must be completed within 40 minutes, will start at 8:30 a.m., while walkers will have a head start at 8:15 a.m. Organized by Race Director Chris Whelihan and his wife Jodi, the event raises money and gives support to the ICCA and Knights of Columbus.

“The money we raise is a testimony to the community and volunteer base,” Whelihan said. “It’s a good community event, and feels great to give back.”

The first 200 people to register for the 5K will receive a custom running hat, designed with the 70th anniversary logo. Early entry registration must be postmarked no later than June 28.

“It’s not a hardcore race,” Whelihan said. “It’s a nice easy run, a nice way to kick off the parade, and we finish in front of the hall so there’s a chance of having front row seats for the parade.”

For more information on the race and walk, contact Whelihan at (609) 828–5503, or email chris.whelihan@gatewayloan.com.

Additionally, students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade can participate in the third annual Project Americanism Essay and Poster Contests. This year’s essay topic is, “What have you, or how can you, help others in your community?” Children in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten should draw a picture and write one sentence, first and second graders are asked to write five sentences, third through fifth graders should write three paragraphs, while sixth- through eighth-grade students need to write five paragraphs. Essays should be brought to the Berlin Borough or township library before June 30. Top finalists in each category may have a chance to be a “big balloon handler” in the Fourth of July parade.

For the poster contest, children are asked to decorate a poster board with red, white and blue or stars and stripes to demonstrate their American pride. Signs should be held high during the Fourth of July Parade with their name and phone number on the back. Poster contest contestants must be present at the parade to win.

For more information on the contest and Project Americanism, contact projectamericanism@gmail.com.

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