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Small Town Goes Big Time with the Berlin Peach Festival

BERLIN — The Berlin Peach Festival is like a party that has gotten out of hand in the best way. Inaugurated by the Harrison family and the Berlin Historic Society as a small get-together to celebrate the town’s near-forgotten agricultural history, the event has quickly morphed into the kind of day people keep marked on their calendars well in advance.

There is some irony in the fact that, unlike peach trees themselves, which have to be carefully cultivated and tended if they are to grow strong, the Berlin Peach Festival both began and has grown exponentially from a slightly promoted and planned event.

The first year, while not quite haphazard, was not geared to the kinds of crowds it attracted. It was a brutally hot Sunday and those who recall attending must also recall their shock at the number of fellow attendees out in the heat.

Nearly all the vendors, and there weren’t nearly as many as there will be this year, were sold out of their peach-related wares within a few hours. Chesapeake Bay Farms’ peach ice cream lasted about as long in the cooler as it would have out in the sun.

But at the heart of the success was that the event was pure fun and the attendees made the most of it. The peach pie-eating and baking contests had as surprising a number of participants as the event in general. Moreover, as any good performer will tell you, it left everyone wanting more.

Last year’s event had even more to do and see as word got out to perspective vendors that there was no better way to spend an August Sunday than at the Berlin Peach Festival and the hundreds who braved the first year’s heat assured all their friends the trip would be worth it.

The Taylor House Museum and grounds were as packed as the downtown and since the number of diversions had doubled the event was refreshed rather than rehashed.

Even the Little Mr. and Miss. Berlin Peach pageant, which took place the preceding Friday, was better attended and much more was made of the title, its responsibilities and its glamour.

This year’s schedule of events adds to and improves on last year’s and the expectation is that the Berlin Peach Festival is getting ready to take its place as the premier late-summer even in the region.

Those who may not have yet attended the festival can be assured they will miss none of the staple events including the pie eating and baking contests and the various food and craft vendors who have made the festival part of their annual plans.

But in the interests of keeping the festival new for everyone, more events, artists and crafters have been added. 

For starters, Baked Dessert Cafe and Gallery will have a table selling the original Berlin Peach Dumpling, a confection tailored specifically to be the town’s official dessert. Other food vendors will include the Arcadia Questers, Berlin Coffee House, Berlin Lions and Lionesses, Buckingham Presbyterian Church, Chesapeake Bay Farms Creamery and Stevenson United Methodist Church.

Although the event officially ends at 6 p.m., attendees are encouraged to stay on for a concert to follow featuring Peter’s Voice at the Taylor House Museum’s monthly Concert on the Lawn. Food vendors will stay late as well with picnic foods available for those who would rather not pack their own.

There will also be performances throughout the day by Twisters Gymnastics and Cheerleading and Smith Island storyteller Janice Marshall

In addition, the Berlin Heritage Foundation will hold a raffle for a basket filled with vouchers and gift certificates valued at $300. Festival goers can also win a $25 gift certificate to Main Street Berlin shops by guessing how many peach pits are in a jar. 

For more information, contact Susan Taylor at 410-641-1019 or email at