History hazy, but historical society's fair still draws

Published on Sunday, 17 December 2017 22:00
Written by Charles Paullin


BERLIN - The organization’s main objective is to document and share the history of Berlin.

Yet it took over a handful of Berlin Historical Society members to remember exactly when they started their annual holiday fair, because it has been so many years.

“Yeah, early 2000s,” said Kate Kearns, a former president of the society, with a pleasant grin.

With bird houses made by a society member, spices with the societies branding on the label, and household decorations for the holidays, the Berlin Historical Society’s Holiday Fair was held on Friday, Dec. 1, in the basement of the museum on the corners of Peck and Main Street. The building is the former Peck Library, which the town used until it built the new Berlin-Peck Memorial Library on Kensington Road in late 1980s.

The proceeds from its biggest fundraiser of the year go toward the society’s popular story share events, scholarship and many other programmatic efforts held throughout the year in town.

“I can reward myself, it’s holiday time,” said Pat Massirio, who decided to treat herself to Pecan Caramel Delights and Italian anisette cookies after being good and going to the gym all year.

Over in the corner were Tammy Andersen and Dawn Steimer, who were checking out a Christmas tree for the most “unique” ornament, or as they honestly put it, the ugliest one.

“This is what we do. Come here every year, support them and find an ornament,” said Andersen. She said she was at first looking at a larger boot ornament with a mix of blue and pink colors, that would probably need a lot of packing to maintain its fragile appearance and ultimately make her mad.

Up on the second floor was the museum on the town’s history, open for browsing as more of the baked goods and punch were served on one side.

“I’m happy they’re doing all they are to preserve the history. They do a lot of good work,” said Jane Waterschoot, who grew up in town. She was there with her friend, Donna Blanchard, of Plainville, who was intrigued by the displays.

“Very cool stuff,” said Blanchard. “I didn’t know Berlin was tin, and brick.”

On one side of the museum is a section devoted to Simeon North, an 1800s pistol maker in Connecticut, while another corner is devoted to Leatherman, a foot traveler throughout the Connecticut and Hudson Rivers in the mid to late 1800s.

The fair was held on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, and at its conclusion, Lorraine Stub, secretary of the society, said all the baked goods would be sold out.

“We had to make a hundred of something,” Stub said. “It’s part of the circle of giving,” Heidi Kropf, a member of the society said.

The items other than baked goods will remain on sale, Kropf said, at the museum, which is open on Saturdays from 1 to 4 p.m. between April and December, or by appointment.

Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or cpaullin@centralctcommunications.com.

Posted in New Britain Herald, , Berlin on Sunday, 17 December 2017 22:00. Updated: Sunday, 17 December 2017 22:03.