BERLIN - A new Independence Day week lineup of rides, entertainment and fireworks is coming to the Berlin Fairgrounds.
From Tuesday through Saturday, Dreamland Amusements will present Freedom Fest, with fireworks on Wednesday and Saturday at 9:30 p.m.
“There isn’t anything like this in the area during that week,” said Peter Porter, superintendent of commercial rentals and concessions for the Lions Club, which owns the fairgrounds, at 430 Beckley Road. “(Dreamland Amusements) is a very professional company.”
The Lions approached Dreamland Amusements with the idea last year, he said.
“There’s a solid friendship between the DeStefanos (Dreamland Amusement owners) and the Lions,” said David Erickson, marketing manager for Dreamland Amusements.
He said Dreamland Amusements had the date available and it made sense to come to Berlin with the event.
“It’s sort of like a test run for us,” said Erickson. “If it works, we keep going.”
Freedom Fest will open Tuesday at 5 p.m. and run until 11 p.m. Hours Wednesday are 4 to 11 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 5 to 11 p.m., and Saturday from 4 to 11 p.m. Daily closing times are subject to change.
Admission is free, but guests must pay to get on the rides and enjoy the traditional fair foods.
The rides will be similar to those at the Berlin Fair, plus some new ones.
No alcoholic beverages will be sold and the community food booths will not be open, but the food booths could be added in a future year, Erickson said.
Parking is $5.
“It’s very family friendly,” said Erickson.“Some people just get a funnel cake and walk around.”
The rides will be set up near the top of the fairgrounds, similar to the Berlin Fair, and the fireworks will take place near the center pavilion stage.
Berlin Upbeat is selling $20 wristbands that provide unlimited rides that are good for one day, on any day except Wednesday, July 4. They can be purchased tonight outside Berlin High School, 139 Patterson Way, from 4 to 8 p.m.
Individual ride tickets can be purchased at $1.50 for a single ticket, $25 for 20 tickets, and $50 for 50 tickets, which includes one free ride.
Also in store for visitors will be the 70-year-old World of Wonders Show, featuring knife throwing and swallowing, an “escape explosion” in which a daredevil will escape from a straitjacket, a strong woman, a “human blockhead” and a guillotine act in which a head is apparently separated from a body but still talks. The free performances will be daily at 6, 8 and 10 p.m. in a red and blue tent with 20-foot-high banners listing the acts.
“We try to have something for everyone,” said Tommy Breen, who has been with the show for 14 years. “It’s fun to see people’s reactions.”
Also as part of the festivities is a demolition derby, which was added to the Thursday night before the Berlin Fair last year.
The derby is $10 in advance for spectators and tickets must be bought online in advance, with only 1,000 available. Entering a car into the event costs $15.
For more information on rides, visit dreamlandamusements.com.
“It’s going to be nice to kick back and enjoy the event,” said Porter, since Dreamland Amusements will be covering all the costs, including grounds rental and security, to run the event.
Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or firstname.lastname@example.org.