Every year since 1950 an unbelievable swarm of people from all over the world descends upon the little PA Dutch town of Kutztown, Pennsylvania. They come to be a part of the folklife festivals that have been celebrated here annually.
The primary purpose of the festival then, as it is now, is twofold. Aside from providing a funfilled family event, we also undertake a serious effort to introduce you to the Pennsylvania Dutch culture found in Berks County, Pennsylvania. We work closely with the Kutztown University Pennsylvania German Heritage Center, as well as with many educators from the university and the surrounding area to offer a high quality folklife program that is fun for the entire family.
Behind every event is a presentation to be learned from, behind every fun filled children's activity is a lesson about farmlife, being a child on the farm, quaint games of the PA Dutch, or singalongs, haywagon rides, hay mazes, puppets, marbles or good honest fun. No video games or TV's here, I'm afraid...
Our seminar stage, run by Dr. Bill Donner, Cultural Director of the Folk Festival, is non-stop education at its most enjoyable. Talk to demonstrating craftsmen about the secrets of their trade, learn about the herbs that cure, and the food that you'll "eat 'til you ouch!" Sing along the old American songs in PA Dutch dialect, and hear PA Dutch humor, customs and traditions told to you by the best there is. Learn about hex signs, and what they mean. Find out who the Belshnickel is, and why children love him and are scared of him at the same time. Find out who the Amish are, and how they are different from the Mennonites. Who are the "gay Dutch?" Find out about covered bridges, bank barns, farming methods, cooking secrets, burial customs, and anything else you can think of concerning the PA Germans, or the "PA Dutch," as they are commonly referred to.
If you don't find your answers about the PA Dutch at the Festival, ask Dr. Bill Donner. If he doesn't know, he will find out for you!