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New Berlin Antiques, Arts and Crafts Show - The crowd enjoying enjoying the antique and craft show in New Berlin. Notice the Old Union County Courthouse built in 1815 in the background.
The crowd enjoying enjoying the antique and craft show in New Berlin. Notice the Old Union County Courthouse built in 1815 in the background.
New Berlin Antiques, Arts and Crafts Show - Antique vendors set up along Route 304.
Antique vendors set up along Route 304.
On August 27,
2016, always the fourth Saturday in August, New Berlin, Pennsylvania held its 46th Annual Antiques, Arts and Crafts Show on the streets. The dealers were told they could begin setting up at 7am; however, many were ready and rarin' to go earlier. These dealers know that the early collectors show up early to get first dibs on that special antique.

Many people don't even realize that there is a New Berlin, Pennsylvania. It is in the heart of Central Pennsylvania on the southern edge of Union County, five miles from Mifflinburg due west and ten miles from Selinsgrove due south.

What attracted Colonial Sense to the show was the town's colonial charm with historic buildings and the show being held on the streets instead of in a local school or fire hall.
New Berlin's early settlers started settling the 226 acres of land in 1792 on land laid out for George Long who purchased the tract from George Albrecht of Lancaster County.
Penns Creek which is just south of town made the area perfect for navigation and perfect water source for mills.

New Berlin Antiques, Arts and Crafts Show - Town Gazebo open for information.
Town Gazebo open for information.
What gave the town its prominence was that it was chosen as the Union County seat in 1814. There were thirty log houses and seventeen log business buildings. The town had its colonial professions -- a tanner, cooper, blacksmith, two carpenters, shoemaker, tailor, stocking weaver, saddler, two potters, millwright, tinker, two gunsmiths, six joiners, and a turner. There was also a schoolmaster, a physician, a justice of the peace, a physician, three innkeepers and two merchants.

Union County was formed from a part of Northumberland County on March 22, 1813.
The town needed a court house and the Old Union County Courthouse was built in 1815 on the corner of Vine and Market Street. Previously the first courts were held in Mifflinburg. The Old Union County Courthouse was renovated between 1855 and 1857 to become a schoolhouse which was used as late as 1952. The Old Union County Courthouse remains listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1972.

New Berlin Antiques, Arts and Crafts Show - Display in the New Berlin Heritage Museum.
Display in the New Berlin Heritage Museum.
The old courthouse now houses the New Berlin Heritage Museum. The Heritage Association does a wonderful job in collecting artifacts and treasures from the past to show the viewer the history of the town. The museum was open for annual show with free admission.

New Berlin was a mixture of German Reformed, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, and
Evangelical religions. This happened to be the mecca for the Evangelical Association which erected their first church edifice known as Albright Church in 1816. The dual language in New Berlin helped support the English language newspapers -- The Union, Advocate of the Union, and New Berlin Gazette or Union TImes; and the German language newspapers -- Union Adler, Union Demokrat, Volksfreund and Der Christlicher Botschafter.

New Berlin Antiques, Arts and Crafts Show - Karl Purnell with his horse Mercedez providing Horse and Carriage Tours.
Karl Purnell with his horse Mercedez providing Horse and Carriage Tours.
Approximately fifty antique dealers and fifty craft vendors lined Market, Vine and Plum Streets. Some of the dealers attending the show were John Stroup from Belleville, The Cottage on the Pine from Selinsgrove, Margaret Schenck of Ulysses, The Kusters of Selinsgrove, Robucks's Antiques of Shamokin Dam.

Early on we saw Jim and Diane Farr of Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, and Lynn Kay of New Oxford racing for that special antique to buy for resale.

Horse and Carriage Tours were being provided by Karl Purnell of Old Town Mifflinburg with his horse Mercedez. Karl is the local historian and director of the National Historic Theater which is held at the Mifflinburg Buggy Museum. Mercedez pulls a 19th century restored six passenger surrey made in Mifflinburg.

New Berlin Antiques, Arts and Crafts Show - Vendor selling flags.
Vendor selling flags.
The food offered was some of the best -- hot dogs with sauerkraut, cheeseburgers, chicken barbecue, hot sausage, pork barbecue, ham salad sandwiches, french fries, funnel cakes, cookies of all kinds, banana nut bread, cake ice cream. We stopped at one stand where we thought the vendor was eating a delicious baked cookie. It turned out to be a stand with dog treats.

Strolling street musicians performed throughout the day. A Silent Auction was held with hand-crafted items donated by local artists. A hand-made quilt was raffled.

We bought a wonderful original red dough box with extended ears on all four sides and a bread board end lid with square nails.

New Berlin Antiques, Arts and Crafts Show - The crowd along the Plum Street. Notice the old stone house in the background.
The crowd along the Plum Street. Notice the old stone house in the background.
Jeannette Lasansky has written wonderful oral tradition history paperbound books over the years -- To Cut, Piece, and Solder: The Work of the Pennsylvania Tinsmith, 1778-1908, Made of Mud: Stoneware Potteries in Central Pennsylvania, 1831-1929, and To Draw, Upset and Weld: Work of the Pennsylvania Rural Blacksmith to name a few which were written for the Oral Traditions Project for the Union County Historical Society. We were interested in Willow, Oak & Rye, Basket Traditions in Pennsylvania offered by a dealer, but it wasn't signed by the author which we prefer.

The dealer said Lasansky was from the Lewisburg area and if we would come back,
the book would be signed. Sure enough we returned to the vendor stand and bought the signed copy which we added to our collection.

Next year the 47th Annual New Berlin Day will be held August 25. With free parking, free admission, and a day of fun, make sure you attend.
Source: Research, photos & text by Bryan Wright

Related Links:

New Berlin Heritage Association
The Cottage on Pine
The National Historic Theater

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