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Chance to learn more about the PA Dutch


nutella addict

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Hey all, I don't know how many of you are from around here, but the first week of July we have a folk festival up in Kutztown, PA, where there are actually seminars and things about Pennsylvania Dutch life and things like Mennonite Weddings and Dialect humor - not to mention Amish food, quilts, and other crafts. So if you don't know about it and are as interested in Amish/Mennonite life (or German dialects) as I am, I am planning on finally making it there this year and thought some of you who live nearby might also be interested.

Here's the website with more information: http://www.kutztownfestival.com/index.shtml

I'm looking forward to funnel cake and sticky buns myself :D

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Don't forget to visit Intercourse and Bird in the Hand.

Try pickled cabbage, chow chow, shoo fly pie and funny cake, they are the best. Also homemade birch beer, great on a hot day. They have some of the best pork product, however I could only smell due to being kosher.

Kutztown Fair is so cool.

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It used to be a family tradition to drive from NJ to Kutztown for their celebration. I'm not a fan of tapioca but I do love PA Dutch tapioca with pearls the size of cats eyes :lol:

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Thanks for posting about the festival. I'll be about 90 minutes from there that week. Hopefully, we'll make it to the festival. I love shoe fly pie!

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In grad school, my roommate/classmate/friend was from Lancaster. You could definitely tell she and her family were from good Pennsylvania Dutch stock, especially in the food department.

She made a shoo-fly pie for us once. Wasn't my cup of tea, but she did say it didn't come out right. Maybe I've just yet to have one that's "done right."

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We've been going every year for the past 6 years, and I don't think you truly learn too much about the PA Dutch (especially if you're looking to learn about modern day Amish and Mennonite communities). I certainly learned more about the historical PA Dutch just living in Berks County, than I did at the festival, that's for certain. It's a fun time, though. They have some demonstrations here and there (I particularly like the glass blowing), but it's more of a crafts and food festival than anything. You can get a banging Pork Schnitzel sandwich, and the Martin Family Band is pretty good for a traveling family group of homeschooled musicians.

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We've been going every year for the past 6 years, and I don't think you truly learn too much about the PA Dutch (especially if you're looking to learn about modern day Amish and Mennonite communities). I certainly learned more about the historical PA Dutch just living in Berks County, than I did at the festival, that's for certain. It's a fun time, though. They have some demonstrations here and there (I particularly like the glass blowing), but it's more of a crafts and food festival than anything. You can get a banging Pork Schnitzel sandwich, and the Martin Family Band is pretty good for a traveling family group of homeschooled musicians.

Ooh, I have a question! Is PA Dutch limited solely to Amish/Mennonite/intentional community, harsh ruled society? Or are there people who keep with a lot of PA Dutch traditions but then also won't get excommunicated for driving a car or who live among everyone else? This is something I've always wondered.

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I really need to get to Kutztown's folk festival one of these years. My mom's family is from York County PA, right across the Susquehanna River from Lancaster County. They've been there since the 1700s and are very Dutch. No Amish or Mennonites in the family, but I do have ancestors who helped form the Dunkard/River Brethren churches way back when. Early American fundies, if you will. We're mostly Methodists now, although I went renegade and converted to Catholicism (I call that going back to my roots, though, as one line of my PA ancestors was Catholic!)

PA Dutch food...do we have a drooling smilie here? :lol: Lebanon bologna, chicken pot pie (the kind you make in a kettle, not bake in the oven!), chicken corn soup, shoo-fly pie, red beet eggs, pork and sauerkraut...well, I've just made myself really hungry, and it's after midnight! :lol:

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Ooh, I have a question! Is PA Dutch limited solely to Amish/Mennonite/intentional community, harsh ruled society? Or are there people who keep with a lot of PA Dutch traditions but then also won't get excommunicated for driving a car or who live among everyone else? This is something I've always wondered.

Oh, no, the PA Dutch are far more than just the Amish/Mennonites who live there. The term mostly refers to the descendants of the first German and Swiss immigrants who came to PA in the early 18th century. Most of them were very religious, but not all were as extreme as the Amish/Mennonites. And some of them were Catholics, as I mentioned above. PA Dutch today refers more to the general culture--food, dialect, accents, traditions, etc--rather than to religion, although many of them are still very strong churchgoers. Lutherans and Methodists are pretty big denominations in York County.

My grandfather was typical PA Dutch for his era. He never spoke English until he started elementary school in 1915, only German, because that's all that was spoken at home. They weren't Amish or anything, I think they were Methodists, so it wasn't because of religion. They had just been speaking German for centuries, there was no real need for English where they lived. Everyone else spoke German, too.

My mother remembers getting scarlet fever when she was a child, and being taken to someone who performed a Pennyslvania Dutch 'pow wow' over her to help her get well. Her parents took her to the doctor, too, though--they were a little superstitious but they believed in modern medicine, too! :lol: This was around 1940 or so. It always amazes me to think the old ways came down like that even to my mother.

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Oh, no, the PA Dutch are far more than just the Amish/Mennonites who live there. The term mostly refers to the descendants of the first German and Swiss immigrants who came to PA in the early 18th century. Most of them were very religious, but not all were as extreme as the Amish/Mennonites. And some of them were Catholics, as I mentioned above. PA Dutch today refers more to the general culture--food, dialect, accents, traditions, etc--rather than to religion, although many of them are still very strong churchgoers. Lutherans and Methodists are pretty big denominations in York County.

My grandfather was typical PA Dutch for his era. He never spoke English until he started elementary school in 1915, only German, because that's all that was spoken at home. They weren't Amish or anything, I think they were Methodists, so it wasn't because of religion. They had just been speaking German for centuries, there was no real need for English where they lived. Everyone else spoke German, too.

My mother remembers getting scarlet fever when she was a child, and being taken to someone who performed a Pennyslvania Dutch 'pow wow' over her to help her get well. Her parents took her to the doctor, too, though--they were a little superstitious but they believed in modern medicine, too! :lol: This was around 1940 or so. It always amazes me to think the old ways came down like that even to my mother.

Cool, I had no idea! Interesting you mention Lutherans, we have our own heavily Dutch and German region here in TX, and I've heard the term "German Lutheran's" before. Thanks for the info!

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I so wish I could go. There's never ANYTHING like this in York, and not having a car leaves you pretty stranded in a town that rolls up the sidewalks around 9pm. I've been living in York for 6 years and I've never been to anything like this. Hell, I've only even been to the Fair once.

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This makes me so homesick. I'm from Altoona originally, and we went to Lancaster 2-3 times a year. Kitchen Kettle Village, the bakery at Bird in Hand, the soft pretzels, the miles of grass, the billion and one flavors of coffee at the Canning Company....

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I so wish I could go. There's never ANYTHING like this in York, and not having a car leaves you pretty stranded in a town that rolls up the sidewalks around 9pm. I've been living in York for 6 years and I've never been to anything like this. Hell, I've only even been to the Fair once.

You live in York? My mom lives in West York! :dance: You're right, they do seem to roll up the sidewalks early there. And even earlier in all the little boroughs and villages that surround it. Some places don't even HAVE sidewalks! :lol:

I love it there, though. The markets, the down-home restaurants (ever go to Alexander's just off of Banister St? They have the best 'broasted' chicken on the planet--'broasted' being a fancy term for deep fried), the history, those little boroughs and villages I mentioned, the beautiful old farms. And OMG, the Fair. A dieter's nightmare. :lol: I try to get up to York several times a year, to visit Mom and get my York county fix. :D

Cool, I had no idea! Interesting you mention Lutherans, we have our own heavily Dutch and German region here in TX, and I've heard the term "German Lutheran's" before. Thanks for the info!

You're welcome! And I hadn't heard about German Lutherans in Texas, that's something new for me to investigate as I do my genealogy research. I might have far-distant cousins there I never knew about! :o

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Ooh, I have a question! Is PA Dutch limited solely to Amish/Mennonite/intentional community, harsh ruled society? Or are there people who keep with a lot of PA Dutch traditions but then also won't get excommunicated for driving a car or who live among everyone else? This is something I've always wondered.

When I hear PA Dutch, I don't think of Amish or Mennonite, I think of the heritage that people from the Lancaster/Berks area have. I think of people like Lester Breininger, who was famous for his redware pottery (he died last December), but lived in a gorgeous Victorian Mansion filled to the brim with antiques and other curiosities, was a high school teacher for over 30 years, and gave tours of his home and workshop twice a year. I think of the fact that the best selling lunch in the cafeteria at the school district where my husband worked was Amish Pot Pie. I think of the landscaper that my husband still does computer work for, who speaks in this high pitched accent that I've only heard in this section of PA. Sure, there are a lot protestant churches in the area, but PA Dutch is tied to the heritage, not a religion. In fact, most of the people I knew that grew up in the area went to Lutheran Churches, and were the farthest from Anabaptist that you could imagine. We live farther west now, but when we lived in Berks if someone said PA Dutch, they definitely did not mean Amish or Mennonite.

You live in York? My mom lives in West York! You're right, they do seem to roll up the sidewalks early there. And even earlier in all the little boroughs and villages that surround it. Some places don't even HAVE sidewalks!

I love it there, though. The markets, the down-home restaurants (ever go to Alexander's just off of Banister St? They have the best 'broasted' chicken on the planet--'broasted' being a fancy term for deep fried), the history, those little boroughs and villages I mentioned, the beautiful old farms. And OMG, the Fair. A dieter's nightmare. I try to get up to York several times a year, to visit Mom and get my York county fix.

My husband is from West York, too. He graduated form West York in 1999. I went to York College and that's how we met. Friends of ours went to the wine festival at the York Fairgrounds a couple of weeks ago, and they said it was really good!

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My dad took us to this festival as kids. Good times! :D To this day I am convinced that only the Amish can make a crunchy dill pickle properly, and they do cure some wonderful bacon as well. Eat funnel cake and by the time we would start out home we were all experiencing fat and sugar highs. Beautiful crafts too.

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I so wish I could go. There's never ANYTHING like this in York, and not having a car leaves you pretty stranded in a town that rolls up the sidewalks around 9pm. I've been living in York for 6 years and I've never been to anything like this. Hell, I've only even been to the Fair once.

Dude, I'm in York too! I might see if my fiancee or family might be interested in taking a trip to Kutztown. I'd be more interested in the food than anything else.

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My PA Dutch Grandparents were both UB, united bretheren, and eventually became UCC, so I think the religious tendencies are split.

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My family is far too recent (that is, my mom was born in Germany) to be PA Dutch, but we live in the area and spoke both German and English at home, and are Lutheran, so I always felt oddly connected to them, although I can't really explain it. I didn't think there would be all that much learning going on but the entertainment schedule does include the seminars and demonstrations as well - and I enjoy learning with my stomach hahaha. Although there are four nearby farmer's markets where I can get all the sticky buns I could possibly want...

As a linguist, I can tell you that very few German Lutherans in Texas are still around, and that those who are left are quite old. They speak an interesting, isolated dialect of German. Of course their children and grandchildren are around but most have moved away from maintaining their German in favor of English.

Another linguist's tidbit, slightly OT: German would be in the top four languages spoken, possibly even rivaling Spanish in the USA, if it hadn't been for the social movement away from all things German during WWII (and WWI, although IIRC it was more extensive the second time around) which caused most groups of heritage speakers to abandon it. As a German speaker I think it's rather a shame, although of course I understand why only the fairly isolated communities who had developed a culture fairly unique from Germany would still have chosen to speak it in that climate.

Back to the topic...I find dialects of heritage speaker groups particularly fascinating, which is another reason I'm really excited to finally make it up to Kutztown for the festival!

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