BERLIN — Main Street was blocked off at 4 p.m. on Friday afternoon to allow ATVs, other OffHighway Recreational Vehicles (OHRVs), and pedestrians to enjoy downtown without any competition from cars and trucks.
ATVs lined the edge of the sidewalks on which vendors were selling their wares and live music filled the air, making the atmosphere light-hearted and cheerful, despite some rain.
At the upper end of Main Street, the prayerful Saint Anne’s Pilgrimage procession turned the corner at Mason Street to head back up to the church, and ATV enthusiasts stood respectfully in front of City Hall to watch the gold-and-white statue pass by on the shoulders of young men from Center Harbor. Mike Reid of Berlin replied that he had been up at Jericho and had found it “awesome” with lots of good food available.
Seventeen-year-old Ben Matt f Amherst, who was riding with his dad, replied that he had enjoyed going through the mud pit twice. He captured the fun with his very compact $300 Go-Pro Hero2 video camera, designed to record about two hours of footage, that’s mounted on his helmet. Ben hopes that Santa might bring him a even better Hero3 model come December.
George McDonough, a South Boston native who now lives in Berlin and works at the Verizon Wireless Zone store on Glen Avenue, replied that he had had a wonderful time that day at the Festival. This was his first time attending the “awesome” event; previously he has had to ride on a borrowed machine. Now, McDonough explained, he’s bought his own four-wheeler — a 2013 Polaris Sportsman — at Absolute Motor Sports in Gorham and hopes to buy a second one next year.
Melissa Tarbox of Berlin, who moved to the City nine years ago, replied that the Festival was a “blast.” She was only able to stay for an hour, however, because she was due at her job at the Tractor Supply store on Route 16 in Gorham. “I hoping to get dirty over the weekend,” Tarbox said.
Berlin Police Cpl. Geoffrey Bardeen, who had just started his shift at 3 p.m. as part of the Department’s Main Street foot patrol, replied that he had a “very good feelings” about the direction in which the City and the Androscoggin Valley is moving. Bardeen served in the Gorham P.D. for 20 months before joining the B.P.D. in 2009.
Henry Sanschagrin of Gorham, president of the Presidential OHRV Club, replied that he had spent the day up at Jericho working on trail patrol.
He praised all the state officials, including Gov. Maggie Hassan and Trails Bureau chief Chris Gamache, and local officials in both Berlin and Gorham plus the numerous ATV enthusiasts who work with other club members, for their collaborative efforts in making this year’s fourth annual Festival even more successful than previous ones.