By Rachel Ravina, Staff Writer
(Aug. 1, 2019) Berlin’s days of the peach and prosperity will be celebrated Saturday, when the town stages its 11th annual Peach Festival from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the lawn of the Calvin B. Taylor House Museum.
The event recalls the glory years of the Harrison peach orchards, which for a time were a global force in the market and put Berlin on the map.
“It’s like a little small town fair almost and they very rarely have them anymore that are this successful,” said Peach Committee member Jan Quick. “For whatever reason, this one flies.”
While the Berlin Peach Festival has been around for more than a decade, the inspiration behind the day goes back much further.
“The peach festival started to honor the heritage of the Harrison’s peach orchards that were so popular at the turn of the century,” Quick said.
However, Melissa Reid, president of the museum’s Board of Directors, added the J.G. Harrison & Son Nursery spanned much further than just the town limits of Berlin.
She also said that the festival helps to pay homage to the local family and their contributions of fruits, ornamental trees and orchards.
“When we were thinking about outreach in our community, we realized there was a great opportunity to pull in this area is so rich in its agricultural history, and to have that … specific connection with the largest mail order nursery in the world,” Reid said.
Several organizations will provide food and beverages that incorporate peaches including tea, salsa and pie, although Quick said the fresh peaches are a fan favorite.
“We have fresh peaches, … which is our first commodity, and mostly what a lot of people come for,” Quick said.
Peach dumplings, ice cream and slushes also will be available, Reid said.
“We try as best we can to have to have the food have some type of connection to peaches,” she said.
Additionally, crab cakes and items from the Street Kitchen food truck in Berlin would also be on the premises.
Reid also said festival visitors will be able to buy items from 45 vendors that produce only handmade goods.
Children and adults can compete in pie-eating contests, and culinary masters can participate in a pie-baking contests.
Museum Curator Susan Taylor said the baking contest would be capped at 12 contestants, who have until Aug. 2 to register and can call the museum at 410-641-1019 to do so.
Reid said contestants should drop of their pies by 10 a.m. and bring a copy of the recipe. Laura Stearns, of the Atlantic Hotel, Dana Gottloeb, of On What Grounds and Ruth Koontz, of Main Street Deli, will judge the competition. Prizes will be awarded to the first, second and third place pies.
“It’s a good opportunity to showcase your baking abilities,” Taylor said.
As for entertainment, Cascading Carlos will juggle, kids can play lawn games and the George and Pat Bilenki Duo will perform, according to event organizers. The museum will also offer tours during the festival.
“It’s a great time to come out, and wander around, and sample some great food, and see some interesting homemade things, and hopefully come in[to] the museum and learn the history of our town,” she said.
The rain date is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 4.
For more information, contact the museum at 410-641-1019.