Its official, Berry Street Festival is making a comeback on Saturday, October 2, from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.
A tradition, thought to be forgotten is being rejuvenated by a new generation. Jennifer Grumme, who fondly remembers the Berry Street Festival, and Derek Chastain, who had always heard about it but was never able to attend, decided the over 70 year tradition was too important to the community and the neighborhood to let it disappear.
After researching the long history of Berry Street Festival, Jennifer and Derek learned it started as a picnic in 1947. A Berry Street resident, Russell Myers, encouraged his neighbors to join together for a picnic. This continued for 15 years, however, interest began dissipating as the original neighbors passed away or moved to a new location. It would be 13 years before Berry Street would get its first revival.
In 1975, Joyce Leer and Jackie Young, residents of Berry Street, decided the neighborhood could benefit from gathering once again. This time, however, they decided it was a good time for the neighbors to also host a yard sale and it started growing again. As the years passed, it became tradition to host the festival on the first Saturday of October and generations would carry on as the time came active Berry Street Festival committee members stepped down. As time moved on, it became harder and harder to keep up with the hosting responsibilities. 2017 would be the last year of an official Berry Street Festival.
Now, after rough years involving divisive politics, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the stress of quarantine and trying to stay safe in our new normal, Jennifer and Derek are hoping to make this an annual tradition again. They have received donations to help cover the cost of the port-a-potties, as well as a cotton candy machine from Headley Hardware (proceeds benefiting next year’s festival) and vendors ready to set up their wares and food. Jennifer and Derek met with the Greencastle City Council last night and were approved for street closures; something they felt was needed as they have live music scheduled. They are hoping to add other amenities, like bounce houses, to ensure families of all types find something to enjoy at this long held tradition.
There is still time to donate or sign up to participate. Contact Jennifer Grumme at email@example.com or call 765-721-0758. Or, you can contact Derek Chastain at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 317-358-5267.