Berlin and Holmes County gear up for Harvest Fest & Rib Cook-Off 2022

BERLIN ‒ Downtown Berlin will be buzzing this weekend as the Harvest Fest and Rib Cook-Off celebrates the season with food, fun and lots of activities.

The two-day event Friday and Saturday (September 9-10) features live music, an auction and fireworks on Friday evening. Fireworks will explode behind Sheiyah Market.

The Saturday festivities begin with the opening of shops and live music at 10 a.m. The judging of the ribs takes place in the afternoon. The winners will be announced at 4:30 p.m., then the draw will begin. The harvest festival parade takes place at 6 p.m. to end the day. More than 60 companies and organizations have reserved places in the parade.

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The end-of-summer gathering began to mark the annual harvest and has become a much-loved community celebration, according to Berlin Main Street Merchants president Doug Burgess and executive director of the Holmes Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, Tiffany Gerber.

Berlin merchants offer visitors plenty to see and do

Children’s activities, citywide sales, local food, bake sales and craft vendors will be available. Saturday’s raffle will benefit the Nevin Mishler family and the Amish & Mennonite Heritage Center.

Traders will get into the harvest season spirit at the annual Harvest Fest and Rib Cook-Off this Friday and Saturday (September 9-10) in Berlin.

Berlin merchants do so many things, says Gerber. They always find a family in need or an organization, so the proceeds from the event go back to the community in the form of support and marketing in Berlin.

“It’s a continuous cycle,” she said. “The money raised goes to encourage people to come and visit Berlin and to make sure the locals are fit. It’s wonderful to see the money put back into the community and the locals.”

Burgess said the community does a great job of providing high-quality items for the auction.

“All of these wonderful things come together for one sensational weekend,” Burgess said. “What started as a celebration of the annual harvest has become a celebration of the community and opens our arms to visitors in a special way.”

Ribs are a star attraction at the annual Harvest Fest

Locals and visitors don't mind lining up to sample some of the delicious ribs at the Harvest Fest & Rib Cook-Off in Berlin.

And there will be ribs. Lots of ribs. A dozen vendors will compete for the best ribs in the People’s Choice, Judges’ Choice and Best of Show categories.

Cook-off contestants will line up on both sides of Main Street through the city to the plaza. Samples will be sold by the bone or by the rack.

“If you haven’t tasted the ribs at this event, they’re amazing,” Burgess said. “Vendors always bring out their best and really put on a great show.”

While locals love the event, visitors also plan their Holmes County trips around it, the pair said.

“They want to eat good ribs and they already know they want to come and visit Berlin,” Gerber said. “The impact on the local economy is significant and enhances the visitor experience. Maybe they come to this area a few times a year, but they especially like to come during Harvest Fest because there’s that extra component and that entertainment that keeps the product fresh.”

Harvest festival logo

The Holmes County Chamber of Commerce loves working on this event because it features a great mix of local businesses, organizations, and schools coming together.

“While the event is not limited to our members, it gives us the opportunity to share face-to-face time while chatting with them during the parade lineup,” Gerber said. “It continues to be a real joy for the chamber to help organize the parade.”