The Daily Times
BERLIN, Md. (AP) -- Berlin is in the running to become "America's Coolest Small Town" with a third-place finish in the initial round of the Budget Travel contest.
The small town between Salisbury and Ocean City finished just behind Buckhannon, W.Va., and Travelers Rest, S.C., in the first round of the Budget Travel 2014 Coolest Small Towns contest.
The contest, according to the Budget Travel website, will recognize a town with a population of fewer than 10,000 that has a certain something that can't be found anywhere else.
"I think we've got a good shot at it," said Michael Day, the town's economic and community development director.
Day said Lisa Challenger, Worcester County's tourism director, nominated Berlin for the contest.
Area residents were quick to show their support by voting daily for the town at www.budgettravel.com. With the help of social media, news of the contest spread and in the final two days of voting, the town surged to finish third with 2,282 votes, just 891 fewer votes than Buckhannon.
"We really shot up the last few days," Day said. "It's great publicity. It gets our name out."
He said the key was reminding people to vote on a daily basis.
He expects social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to play a big part in the second round of the contest, which is expected to begin mid-January. At that point, 15 towns will be vying for votes to be crowned "America's Coolest Small Town."
Megan Houston, the town's Main Street coordinator, is hopeful Berlin will win the honor. She said the town meets the population requirement for the contest and has an array of interesting shops, people and history.
Day agreed and said he feels the town's variety of events also makes it a unique place.
Furthermore, Berlin is already known as Maryland's coolest small town. Day said a Baltimore Sun contest earned it the moniker several years ago.
"It's just stuck," he said.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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