Busy Weekend

I just got back from the ATV festival, which certainly brought a crowd to the region. Estimates ranged, but I heard as many as 700 people yesterday, 900 today. I’m not sure if that’s accurate, but there were certainly a lot of people enjoying the trails, the mud pit, the demo rides and the helicopter tours.

I also stopped by Mayor Grenier’s house to get an update on the Fraser mill. He’s hoping a plan will move forward that can save the 240 jobs, though the project has hit a snag. I’ve been hearing a lot of rumors that suggest it’s dead in the water, but no definitive proof one way or the other. It’s a big deal, 240 jobs, and hopefully something good will be announced soon.

I saw a post on Facebook this morning about how the farmers’ market is the only bright spot in Berlin’s otherwise bleak economic picture. It was from a local merchant, who said she’d seen too many $0 days. She implored residents to shop local, to support Main Street businesses so they don’t all go the way of JC Penney. That heartfelt plea is ubiquitous, but it seems to fall on deaf ears. Walmart never has a lack of customers, even when Main Street does. But it is encouraging what impact an event like market can have. It livens the downtown and brings people out in a way no other Berlin event I’ve seen does. Too many events are after closing time, so people can’t go in and support local merchants.

But what a distance a little ingenuity goes. How much could WREN have spent on this project? I’m sure not much. And yet it has an impact. Thank goodness they took the plunge, but why does it take a group from away to make these things happen. There is creativity and spirit in Berlin. The city just has to figure out how to put it to work.

I’m about to launch into a bit of writing for this week’s paper, but I wanted to post some images from the weekend. I went to the coast of Maine to visit my wife’s family, and when we left we happened upon a fantastic sunset.

Not bad, although it’s no sunset in the mountains.

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