American’s diverse heritage celebrated in park event

by Lisa Schauer

A group of local volunteers organized the third annual American heritage celebration at Berkeley Springs State Park on Saturday and Sunday, April 27 and 28.

Saturday was a wash-out, according to organizers, but perfect weather on Sunday brought more visitors. Several community organizers and politicians gave speeches throughout the celebration.

“We’re fighting hard to bring people together, right here in Berkeley Springs,” said Trey Johanson, who helped organize the celebration with husband Paul Johanson.

Trey and Paul Johanson of Berkeley Springs hold up a mural celebrating American heritage.

A mural depicting a timeline of America’s immigration history, from pre-Columbian civilizations to modern times, lay on a table in the gazebo next to a bucket of markers for people to write from where and when their families arrived in America.

The mural will hang at the Star Theater during Apple Butter Festival, according to Johanson.

Recipes and displays of survival food, such as hard tack, and ethnic dishes, such as desert taffy and almond cookies, were available for sampling. Panda restaurant provided free egg rolls, and smoked sausages rounded out the food samplings.

International flags flapped in the breeze, with the American flag and a portrait of the Statue of Liberty at the center.

A family gathered under the Korean flag for a photo celebrating their heritage. Another drew on the mural, indicating their family came from Germany in the late 1800’s.

“We enrich one other when we come together and celebrate our diversity,” said Johanson.