Celebrating its 51st year, New Berlin Day will fill the streets of New Berlin on Saturday, August 28 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. “We get a lot of people who used to live in town who come back, so it is very much a reunion. It brings people out and you get to see your neighbors,” said Logan Roush, who is a volunteer with the event.
Roush underscored the nostalgia of the event with a touching memory, “We are in a very small town that has lost a lot and I prefer not to see our history go away. Two years ago, we had a woman stop by the gazebo, and she was in her early 90s, and her family brought her in from Missouri just for this.”
The highlight of New Berlin Day is shopping. Roush said, “There is an antique and craft fair and we have the same amount of antiques as we do crafts.” He added, “This isn’t a flea market and we attempt to attract higher end, quality antique vendors.”
As for the crafts, visitors can find local artisans and craftsmen selling their wares along historic Market Street. “We see a lot of fall crafts because of the time of year. There is a lot of jewelry, soap makers and candle makers and handmade pottery. There will also be a sidewalk chalk artist who will work with the children and she will be doing a painting demonstration,” said Roush.
For hungry visitors, there will also be plenty of food. “A lot of local organizations will sell food on the carnival grounds,” said Roush. The fare will include breakfast sandwiches, funnel cakes and burgers. In addition, a bake sale will be located in the New Berlin Day gazebo.
Local business owner Sarah Ockershausen Delp is looking forward to this year’s event, since the pandemic affected last year’s attendance. “It was a little heartbreaking to not see such a huge amount of variety (in 2020). People didn’t come because they didn’t feel safe. I am hoping this year will bring back those amazingly creative people and they feel safe to do it,” said Delp, who is the owner of Poe’s New & Used. Roush said that this year’s New Berlin Day will have hand washing stations located on the street and that masks are not required.
Delp’s bookstore is located at 428 Market Street in a renovated church built in 1874. She is counting on a robust crowd to help stimulate the local economy. She said, “A good turnout could have a big impact on my business. It could help us get through the hard part of the winter.”
The bookstore will have extended hours the day of the event. “I am opening early at 7 a.m. and closing at 7 p.m. so vendors can come in if they like to,” said the book merchant. According to Roush, people often show up at 6 a.m. to get a glimpse of what vendors are unpacking.
In addition to helping local merchants, the event benefits the town as a whole. Roush said, “It helps fund town-wide events. We are trying to retain our Fourth of July event, but it also benefits the community in many different ways. In the past, we have done stuff for the police department and public areas.”
In addition to working downtown, Delp also lives there and has had a front row seat to New Berlin Day for years. She said the free event attracts hundreds and hundreds of people. “It is like a fair atmosphere and everyone is so excited to be here. Vendors know they are going to make money and crafts people get to share their talents.”