July 6, 2013

Livin' it Up, Pennsylvania Dutch Style

In our small, folksy town of Kutztown, we are treated to a yearly event--the Kutztown Folk Festival, which is arguably the oldest folk festival of its kind in the country.
For the past 64 years, this event spans a week over the July 4th holiday and features all manner of folk arts and crafts of the Pennsylvania German immigrants who settled this area way back in olden times (a folksy term for a folksy festival).

Having grown up around this culture, I always considered it to be old-fashioned and a little too country for me, however as an adult and one who is artistically-inclined, I'm so enamored of these traditional artforms.
Well, even if they're not presented in the most traditional manner.  I love that the hex sign artisan embraces technology just like the rest of us.
I took Soren to the festival last Sunday (it ends tomorrow, in case you're local and want to go) and we really enjoyed ourselves.  We petted animals,
(these rabbits were utterly adored by Soren. He loved picking clover for them to eat).
and ate treats like soft pretzels and kettle corn.
And were a bit disturbed by the ox roast.
Soren was patient while I looked at all the crafts and spoke with some of the artisans.
 This form of paper cutting art is known as scherenschnitte.  It's so intricate and beautiful.
Below is the traditional redware, in which designs are "scratched" into the clay in a technique called sgraffito.
The Beeswax candle maker
There were a lot of activities to keep kids entertained.
From the simple joy of climbing on hay bales
to puppet shows and a flea circus
to a mural decorated with Pennsylvania Dutch imagery that visitors could paint,
there is something that every kid could enjoy. Even if it's just the ice cream, birch beer and funnel cakes.
We brought a few things home, including a screen-printed tea towel, a slingshot, and some freshly-grated horseradish.  I'm a fan of foods that make you cry.
There is SO much to see and do, so if you are close to Eastern Pennsylvania, definitely make a trip to the Folk Fest.  It ends on Sunday, but will be back next year.

3 comments:

  1. Ooh, brings back all my memories of growing up in PA. Very close to there-Lehigh County. All those foods. Yum! I saw shoefly pie in the pictures! Oh my gosh, that is the best! Have you ever tried it?
    I bet you all had a blast!
    So pretty and what a nice visit for me. Thanks!

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