BERLIN – A Berlin tradition will continue albeit in a new format to encourage social distancing.
As a result of COVID-19 concerns, the Berlin Peach Festival has been turned into Peach Day in Berlin this year. The Calvin B. Taylor House Museum, which hosts the annual event, aims to celebrate the town’s peach history in a way that doesn’t bring a huge crowd to the museum lawn.
“We felt very strongly because it’s a day that so many people associate with Berlin and the museum we didn’t want people to forget us,” said Melissa Reid, president of the Taylor House Museum. “We set up an event that’ll be safe but also support the local businesses.”
On Saturday, Aug. 1, the Taylor House Museum will host Peach Day in Berlin from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Attendees will be able to purchase peaches by the bag or half bushel at the museum and are invited to visit downtown businesses to purchase peach-themed items. Reid said that with no craft vendors, this rendition of the peach festival would encourage visitors to check out downtown shops and ensure there wasn’t too large of a crowd in one area.
“For the safety of everybody and to comply with the town’s guidelines, we felt the best thing to do was to spread it out throughout the town,” she said. “We want visitors to patronize the shops.”
In addition to the peach-related items at local stores, the festival’s nonprofit food vendors will be spread out throughout the downtown area.
A new aspect of this year’s event will be a scavenger hunt that will send participants to the shops and food stops. After they fill in all the blanks, they’ll be able to enter their name in a drawing to win a peach themed gift basket.
Jack Orris, a Taylor House Museum board member, praised the event planning committee for coming up with a creative way to keep the event alive.
“COVID-19 has forced everyone to think outside the box and huge kudos and thanks to the peach planning committee for taking the museum’s largest event and changing format to ensure that it can still happen,” he said. “It isn’t our traditional peach festival, but with cooperation and coordination with vendors, nonprofits, and businesses, the peach festival will continue to be a true community event — this year with the bonus of expanding further into the center of town.”
The Taylor House Museum began hosting a peach festival in 2009 in an effort to honor the town’s past as the home of Harrisons’ Nurseries. The nursery business, which at one time was the largest grower of fruit trees in the country, had thousands of acres in the Berlin area in the early 20th century.
“It’s very important to remember our peachy history,” said Ivy Wells, the town’s economic and community development director. “Many people don’t realize that Berlin used to be the peach capital of the world back in the day.”
For more information on Peach Day, visit the Calvin B. Taylor House Museum page on Facebook.