2007-06-21 / Other News

Popular Kutztown Festival Ready To Kicks Off 58th Year

Archaic 19th century skills, like blacksmithing (above), are demonstrated at annual festival.
Archaic 19th century skills, like blacksmithing (above), are demonstrated at annual festival. Delightful surprises will be found around every corner of the fairgrounds at the Kutztown Folk Festival - June 30 to July 8 - in Kutztown, PA. One of America's most celebrated festivals, now in its 58th year, the Festival is the oldest continuing folk life event in the nation. Drawing well over 100,000 visitors, the event features folk art and crafts by 200 craftsmen, the largest exhibition and sale of authentic Pennsylvania Dutch quilts in the country, folklore and folk life programs, six stages of continuous entertainment, music, a wide array of children's activities, and the best Pennsylvania Dutch food found anywhere. Visitors are serenaded by strolling musicians, children are fascinated by the puppets in the barnyard theatre, and everyone enjoys the foot-stomping Pennsylvania Dutch hoedown dancing.

Traditions and skills that have been passed down in families over many generations are found in the folk art and crafts at the festival, including fine furniture, miniatures, pottery making, clothing, musical instruments, hand-painted art, iron ornaments, weavings, brooms, cut paper art known as "scherenschnitte," Pennsylvania German calligraphic writing called "fraktur", beeswax candles and more.

The exhibition and sale of nearly 2,500 beautiful, hand-made Pennsylvania German motif quilts is one of the festival's most popular events. An art show in itself, these masterpieces represent countless hours of dedicated work by quilters in the region. From 100 outstanding quilts, twenty-four are awarded top honors, and four are designated as the best of the show. The quilt auction on the second Saturday of the festival is the highlight of the show.

There is music in the air everywhere at the Kutztown Folk Festival. From folk singing and country fiddling to the sounds of brass bands, to the gentler sounds of Mennonite hymns, the festival grounds are alive with music. Songs in the Pennsylvania Dutch dialect introduce visitors to traditional music of the region. Visitors join in the fun at sing-alongs and even join in a country music square dance "free for all" Wednesday and Friday evenings.

The Festival is a kids' celebration too. There is plenty of real, live, interactive entertainment that provides lots of fun. The younger set love the puppet barnyard theatre with its goings-on around Farmer Brown's farm, the petting zoo where they can see, touch, and feed dozens of farm animals, the traditional children's folk songs, and the kids' sing-alongs. Good news for parents, too. Children 12 years of age and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by adults.

There's much more at the Kutztown Festival. History comes alive in folklife seminars with speakers on topics ranging from religion and family life to clothing and folk medicine and historical reenactments The colorful 4th of July parade is one of the best in the area, with all of the Festival's craftsmen, entertainers, and presenters participating. And, from one end of the festival grounds to the other, there seems to be no end to meals - from snacks to full course all-you-can eat dinners.

Festival information: Adult admission is $12, seniors $11, children under 12 years free. Free parking. For more information, visit: www.kutztownfestival.com or call 1-888-674-6136.

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