Historical scene, complete with Peeps, heralds coming of spring in Springfield

More signs of spring returned to downtown Springfield on Wednesday, involving local history and a sugary Easter treat.

A historical scene recreating a 1917 photo of the former Myers Market, where COhatch now resides, was formed using marshmallow Peeps and other props at the Heritage Center of Clark County, 117 S. Fountain Ave.

Each March, Natalie Fritz, curator of library and archives, and volunteers recreate a unique part of Springfield’s past. It began as a contest sponsored by the Ohio History Connection and proved so popular Fritz finds new inspiration each year.

This display has actually been in the making for a year now. Myers Market was chosen to coincide with the opening of COhatch, which was scheduled for April 2020 but canceled when the COVID-19 lockdown occurred.

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“We’re just trying to recreate all of the different booths and products available and what people were selling in the market,” Fritz said. “We’ve been doing it since 2011... and we’ve done it every year since, expect last year.”

Fritz ended up doing a “Peeps at Home” theme at her home with the help of her kids instead.

“We’re glad we’re open to be able to do things like this this year,” she said.

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The 3-by-1.5-foot scene depicts Myers Market as it appeared a century ago, which was revolutionary by having refrigerated cases and no flies. At the time, World War I was also going on and efforts were made to show proper food rationing.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

The photo is on display at COHatch. The scene uses 30-40 Peeps (chicks and bunnies), Legos and other materials to depict tables and stalls and radiators made of popsicle sticks and tiny items for food. There are tricks for a better display.

“If you open the Peeps a week ahead of time, it gives them time to dry better,” said Fritz. “We have one pack we got a year ago. A lot of things we started last year.”

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Fritz shared the key to a good display is having plenty of people in the picture who the Peeps can stand in for, such as a groundbreaking. She said visiting the Peeps display is part of one local family’s annual spring break plans and the Heritage Center volunteers also look forward to working on the annual display.

“I hope people will learn something and think it’s cute. I hope they will really get the history of our town,” Fritz said.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Marguerite Brinkman, who has been volunteering for the Heritage Center for 20 years, said they all “love it” and that “it’s a lot of fun.”

She also still shares the scenes with the company that manufactures Peeps and shares them on their website.

The display will be up through April in the Heritage Center lobby. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.

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