Monday, July 10, 2006

Kutztown Festival 2006

I finally did it! I went to the 2006 Kutztown Festival, one of the largest PA German fetes in the country.

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.
Broom maker at the 2006 Kutztown Festival
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 ...

Dinker wearing the broom maker's hat at the 2006 Kutztown Festival


Rowan said...

sounds like you had a great time! I wish I could go (i love stuff like that) and I wanted to ask, I have one and I know lots of ppl do, these little brooms on a magnet on their fridge or hanging on a hook in their kitchen you know if these are from a similar witch hunting tradition?

Maidink said...

Could be, not sure. I know the brooms on the wall 'cause of the state I reside in.

Google it, chickie!

CeCe said...

That's pretty cute!

Ruth said...

Sounds like a fun time - I love the summer festivals! And I would love to have the time and patience to learn the scherenschnitte! My best friend's aunt has done some amazing pieces of it - I'm not sure my hand would be steady enough!

Maidink said...

CeCe ~ Thanks

Ruth ~ It was a pretty neat fete. The woman that was there doing the papercutting was working on a covered bridge scene, it was so cool. If I had the time, I'd try to learn it. But that would entail me using a sharp instrument.

Mr. Fabulous said...

Now I have to know what shoo-fly pie is...

Malnurtured Snay said...

That town needs to be renamed "Klutztown", just because.

MJ said...

M.Snay beat me to the Klutztown comment. I was going to say Klutztown is where someone like me would vacation.

This looks like a fab family outing.

Anonymous said...

My family and I also went to the Klutztown Festival this year on July 7th. THe festival is as you said, great and very interesting. But I did think one thing odd, the hanging of Susanne, I can't recall her last name. I stop at the gallows in time to watch the recreation of a hanging that happened 200 years ago. Although the story was interesting, I thought a hanging at a festival was a little out of place. All in all the festival was grand.

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