Saturday marks the return of the Berlin Peach Festival, the popular Berlin event that features music, games, food, displays, demonstrations, pie-eating contests, storytelling, and of course, all things peach. The 5th Annual Berlin Peach Festival will take place this Saturday, August 3 from 11am to 4pm at the Calvin B. Taylor House Museum along North Main Street in downtown Berlin. This marks the fifth year for the festival, an event that typically draws large crowds, not only to the Taylor House lawn, but to the entire downtown area.
According to Taylor House Museum curator Susan Taylor, the idea for the event was born as they were tossing around ideas for events to host at the Taylor House Museum. After discovering some old Harrison Nursery pamphlets, they discovered that annual peach festivals were once quite popular in the area. “We figured this would be fun to bring back and so far it’s been very popular,” said Taylor, adding “it surprised us how popular it was that first year, and it’s really grown each year.” Staying true to the original peach festivals, old postcards and pamphlets are re-purposed as the background themes for the Peach Festival posters each year(pictured right), giving the advertisements a retro authenticity. This years’ posters, along with the hats and t-shirts, were pulled from a 1908 advertisement.
Taylor noted that they’ve certainly learned a few things over the past five years – like securing a rain date. “The first year, we didn’t really think about a rain date, and then the second year it poured! People were still coming out in the rain though,” said Taylor. They soon decided to move the event to Saturdays so that the rain date could be reserved for Sunday. The event is also held sooner than it was the first few years, after discovering that there was a better chance for peak peach times at the beginning of August.
While the Peach Festival is sponsored by the Berlin Heritage Foundation each year, it has gradually become a town event, with the Town of Berlin, the Worcester County Arts Council, the Maryland State Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts all playing a part in the event. “It’s grown so much so there’s a lot of out of town people that come now, but it’s a great festival for the whole community too,” said Taylor, adding that the Town of Berlin is extremely helpful with providing whatever support they need. The crowds typically spend a few hours at the Festival before wandering through the downtown area to enjoy the local shops and restaurants.
As in past years, the Peach Festival will feature a variety of displays, demonstrations, and sales tables for attendees to enjoy throughout the day. Entertainment will include Frank Nanna’s fine fiddle as well as local trio, 3 Sheets. Also returning this year are the pie-baking and pie-eating contests as well as the Little Miss and Little Mister Berlin Peach entries. Raffle tickets and prizes are also available, along with a number of “peachy” goodies. Activities include kids “shaking their booties” to make ice cream the old fashioned way, juggling Cascading Carlos, the Peachiest Baggo Game, an old-fashioned cup(cake) walk, photo cut-outs, and temporary peach tattoos.
Naturally, peaches of all sizes and shapes will be on sale from a variety of Delmarva growers. For more information, visit www.taylorhousemuseum.org.