Thinking down home at a Pennsylvania Dutch Folk Festival for Independence Day this year? Dreaming of pie eating contests, quilting bees, and Civil War re-enactments?
Organizers of the annual Kutztown Folk Festival in Pennsylvania call their event a celebration of folklore, food, fun and family. For more than 70 years, the festival has highlighted daily life in the Pennsylvania Dutch Country region. After being virtual for two years of the Covid pandemic, the festival is putting an even greater emphasis on family-oriented events.
What Families Find At A Pennsylvania Dutch Folk Festival in Kutztown
New for 2024 are even more interactive activities for kids and adult visitors. The festival will feature five different stages with live folk music, dancing and Mennonite hymn singing. In addition to serious workshops on local culture, visitors can watch an Amish wedding or a re-enactment of a 19th century hanging.
Peruse the folk art exhibits and craftspeople creating authentic wares. The Kutztown Festival’s live entertainment and stands serving treats from the region appeal to young and old alike. Traditional folklore presentations are among the most popular activities.
Special events include the Lester Miller Family Dancers (they do hoedowns), a 19th century brass band, and a fun Fourth of July parade fondly known as “The Hokiest Parade in America.” Children have their very own Farmyard Theater with singalongs, storytelling, puppet shows, a magician, clowns and a ventriloquist. Kids will also enjoy the enlarged Children’s Petting Zoo, where they and their parents can feed and interact with friendly farm animals.
In addition, families will find craft and play areas, pony rides and a 19th century carousel that is turned by live horses. Traditional games are also featured along with a hay maze and the Hex Express-a train fashioned from 55 gallon drums and pulled by a tractor.
Learn About And Shop For Pennsylvania Dutch and Folk Artifacts
The Quilt Barn is where more than 2,500 handmade quilts will be on display, available for purchase during the festival. Demonstrations and quilting bees will be held for visitors interested in learning more about the quilting process and all visitors are encouraged to contribute to the festival’s visitors quilt. Other demonstrations include pottery making, woodcarving, weaving and hex sign painting, an art unique to Pennsylvania Dutch Country.
In between all of these wonderful activities, sample an assortment of local favorite dishes such as shoo-fly pie and country chicken dinners. A highlight of the festival are the Pennsylvania Dutch family style dinners. You may even see a demonstrations of the bread oven. Kids will love the festival’s many sweet treats, including strawberry shortcake, funnel cakes and ice cream. It’s also a place to try traditional “root drinks,” such as Root Beer, Birch Beer, and Sarsaparilla.
Keep in mind that Kutztown also hosts an Oktoberfest and many other events in spring and fall where you can enjoy treats from surrounding Pennsylvania Dutch farms.
Trip Planning Details for a Pennsylvania Dutch Summer Folklife Fair
Travelers planning to stay for several days will find an assortment of lodging choices including a few hotels nearby that are partnering with the festival. We liked the Quality Inn Midway, located at Exit 16 – I-78, Bethel, PA 19507. This location is close to a trailhead for the Appalachian Trail and the Blue Mountains, if there are hikers in the family. Explore Roadside America, the fun — if out of season — Christmas Village, and Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. Take advantage of a free breakfast in addition to free weekday newspapers and coffee with rates starting at $59/night. The inn also boasts an indoor pool, exercise room and video game room, perfect for kids who want to continue having fun after a day at the festival.
Set your reminder to book a room soon: The top value Kutztown Folk Festival will take place from June 27 to July 7, 2024. The region is a bargain and so are festival admission fees, with reduced rates for ages 13-17; younger kids go free. To purchase tickets and learn more about the event, visit the Kutztown Festival website or call 888/674-6136.
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