Kutztown Folk Festival

America's Oldest Folklife Festival

Nothing tops the good old-fashion summer fun at the Kutztown Folk Festival in Kutztown, PA. This family-oriented festival offers over 200 demonstrating craftsmen, 2,500 beautiful hand-made quilts, folklife demonstrations, six stages of entertainment, lots of children’s activities, and the best Pennsylvania Dutch food anywhere. Affordable family fun at the Kutztown Folk Festival! – July 1-9, 2017.

One of America’s most celebrated festivals, the Kutztown Festival is the oldest continuing folklife event in the nation. Drawing well over 100,000 visitors, the Festival features folk art and crafts by 200 craftsmen, the largest exhibition and sale of authentic Pennsylvania Dutch quilts in the country, folklore and folklife 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.

Fresh bread from an 18th century beehive oven is baked daily on the Festival grounds.
Good food!
Noted potter Ned Foltz demonstrates redware pottery making at the Festival
Festival favorite Eric Claypoole paints a Pennsylvania Dutch hexsign.
Music and dance everywhere!

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 (all made in America) is one of the most popular events at the festival. 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.

This year's festival will showcase five unique wineries in a mini-wine tour. And the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center at Kutztown University will feature an expanded folklife display and demonstration area related to the local Mennonite culture.

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.

Admission, $14, seniors $13, juniors (13-17) $5, children under 12 are free. Information: 1-888-674-6136, or website.

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