New Volunteers Invigorate 16th Annual Berlin Whiskey Rebellion Festival

Article excerpt

Even though this year's 16th annual Whiskey Rebellion Heritage Festival almost didn't happen, the small-town fall foliage festival will again bring 1794 history to life on Saturday and Sunday in Berlin, southern Somerset County.

"We went through some challenging times earlier this year," said Carolyn Sarver, president of the festival committee. "We are a small festival and our funds were dwindling and our volunteers were getting burned out."

Instead of canceling the festival, new community members got involved with fresh, new ideas for fundraisers, such as a flea market in May and a clothing sale in July. Now, the members are planning a Halloween dance on Oct. 23 in Berlin as the first fundraiser after the festival.

"It's everyone bringing their ideas and talents to the table with a new perspective," Sarver said. "And, it's working. We already have plans for next year's festival."

The history of the festival goes back to 1994, when townspeople got together to celebrate the Bicentennial of the Whiskey Rebellion, and it served as precursor for the Somerset County Bicentennial in 1995.

The Whiskey Rebellion occurred in 1794, when local frontiersmen spoke out against a whiskey tax imposed by the newly formed government of the United States. Every year, several townspeople dress as frontiersmen and raise their rifles in tribute to the original pioneers who took a stand against taxation without representation. …