It was really nice. Not mind-blowing. Not boring as watching paint dry (though I do find it fascinating when the colors go from darker wet hues to lighter dry hues). It was a pleasant time.
My only problem was that I had to pay an entry fee to get into something where I was going to spend more money. Sure there were hay rides, hay mazes, and assorted other entertainment for the kiddies. And there were folk who did presentations and played music and tried to get eveyone join in a sing-a-long. And it wasn't like the fee was obnoxiously high. So I really shouldn't complain.
Aside from that, the things that truly make the festival so popular are the various choices of food, vendors, and demonstrations.
Man oh man, was there a lot of food. There was tons and tons of food to choose from at this place. There was shoo-fly pie, pecan pie, water ice, funnel cake, sweet roasted almonds, strawberry short cake, ice cream, hot dogs, potpies, a whole roasted ox (this link is not for a vegan or animal lover to witness so you are being warned), corn dogs, meat sandwhiches, corn nuggets, raosted veggies ... good gravy! I could go on forever. I admit the prices were a bit high, but the food was great so well worth the bucks. To drink, there was the obligatory beer, sassperilla, ginger beer, birch beer, and, of course, expensive bottled water.
The demonstrations were pretty interesting. There was the hay-baling demo. That one scared me. The machine that does the baling is a steam engine and when something is about to happen (don't ask me what 'cause I don't know), this rather loud steam whistle goes TWWEEEEEEEE!! Holy chowder! Did that scare the bejesus out of me.
In other demos, the picture shows how wooden brooms are fashioned. Brooms fare heavily in PA German superstitions. Wide brooms were hung on walls to serve as a warning that witches would be swept out of a home if discovered. If one thought they were bewitched, they were to lay a broom by the entrance to the house. The first person to enter and pick up the broom was the witch. (source)
I particularly like the photo (which was taken by Geo). Check out Geo's flickr account here.
There were scads of vendors everywhere. One vendor that I liked demonstrated the PA German art of "scherenschnitte" or papercutting. Think of scherenschnitte as the grandfather of laser-cut paper art. In the same way we didn't get to taste all the different foods, we didn't get to see all the vendors there were so dang many.
In all it was a good time. It was something different for all us. As always , Dinker had a fun. She kept pointing to different items she wanted us to buy for her; however, for the first time that I can think of, she walked out a place empty-handed. The only thing she had was a full belly. Geo loved the photo ops he had which gave him a great excuse to lug around his Rebel XT. I wanted to shop, but I wasn't in a shopping mood. I instead opted for meandering and taken in all the different sites and mingling smells in the air.
I do recommend if you find yourself in the Philadelphia or Allentown area next year between the dates of June 30th and July 8th, bite the bullet, pay the entry fee, and see the Kutztown Festival. You'll be glad you went and you'll walk away with memories like this ...