Berlin Harvest Festival Parade and Rib Cook-Off celebrates the season
by Kyle Valentini
Autumn in Amish Country is the time of year when all of summer’s hard work pays off in the form of a bountiful harvest from the fields. The Berlin Main Street Merchants, along with the Holmes County Chamber of Commerce, see no finer way to celebrate the harvest than with a festival that includes a parade, raffles, live entertainment and a rib cook-off that is suitable for the entire family. This year’s Harvest Festival will be Saturday, Sept. 8 in downtown Berlin, Holmes County’s oldest existing village.
The Rib Cook-Off is in its sixth year and continues to draw contestants from the region and beyond to compete in a friendly contest that is all about good food and fellowship. Ribs are judged by a panel of area culinary experts for tenderness and appearance, but ultimately for taste, while fans get an opportunity to decide as well who they believe is the official rib master of the festival.
To complement the ribs, other regional favorites are served, like corn on the cob, homemade ice cream, sweet and salty kettle corn, decadent fry pies and an Ohio Amish Country staple and favorite, mashed potatoes and homemade noodles.
Live music can be heard beginning at 11 a.m. on the busy village square, while merchants showcase their wares with special sidewalk sales and discounts for shoppers in search of the unique items that can only be found in the many downtown shops of Berlin.
Plenty of family-friendly activities are planned at the daylong event that allows visitors to the region to rub elbows with the people that call Berlin home.
The parade begins at 6 p.m. and will include nearly 100 floats, vintage cars, fire trucks, and the music of the Hiland High School Marching Band, as well as some of the familiar faces of the region locals and visitors have come to know over the years. Kids enjoy the candy thrown from the floats while adults enjoy the nostalgia invoked by the small-town community parade that is reminiscent of days gone by.
Later in the evening, the Gospel Book Store will host local author Paul Stutzman at a book signing of his first novel titled The Wanderers. The acclaimed author of Hiking Through and Biking Through, books that describe hiking the Appalachian Trail and a cross-country cycling trip, will be on hand to promote his third book and first novel.
The Harvest Festival brings out the best in the residents and those that come to visit as summer fades to fall and the season’s rich bounty is shared.
For more information about the Harvest Festival Parade & Rib Cook-off, contact the Berlin Main Street Merchants at 330-893-3192 or the Holmes County Chamber of Commerce at 330-674-3975.