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Spring to Summer – Frolic to Festival
Written by Larry Roeder Editor

Goschenhoppen Historians , from left, Ed Johnson, Al Gouldey, Alan Keyser and Jack Armstrong look over the artifacts in the Weaving Room exhibit.  Just one of many exhibit "rooms" on display in the Folklife Museum

The Goschenhoppen Historians make leaning local history fun

                For anyone who has ever visited the annual Goschenhoppen Folk Festival, it is an amazing experience.  Visitors get to enjoy the historian's dedication to local history and their commitment to make their presentations historically accurate.  It is an event that pleases the eyes, mind and palate of all who experience it.

                But, as the Goschenhoppen historians feverishly prepare for a very special fiftieth anniversary of the Folk Festival, they'll pause on Sunday, June 5 to hold a fun-filled family event titled "Spring Frolic!"

                This third annual Spring Frolic will be held on the spacious grounds of the Henry Antes Plantation, a National Historic Landmark owned by the Historians.  It was designed and built by Henry Antes in 1736 and serves as a living history museum as well as the site of events for the organization.

                In addition to a Pie Baking Contest (adult and junior competition), other events include an Apea Cake Toss, Wheelbarrow Races, Rolling Pin Toss for the ladies, and a Pedal Tractor-Pull contest for 4 to 7-year-old farmers.  There will be games, wagon rides and music by the Festival Fiddlers.  Oh yes, a Shoo-Fly Pie Baking Contest for the seasoned festival cooks too.  And, of course, good food.

                I recently caught up with Ed Johnson, Al Gouldey, Jack Armstrong, and Alan Keyser of the Goschenhoppen Historians as they took a break from preparing for the upcoming Frolic and Folk Festival.

                Al said the Spring Frolic is "Not typically us" as when it comes to presenting the historic accuracy at the Folk Festival.  The Frolic is more of a family-fun type of event to "bring families out to enjoy an afternoon at the Antes Plantation."

                Jack, who annually leads the local Revolutionary War era militia around the plantation grounds during daily parades at the festival, is somewhat typical of a civilian-soldier who dropped what he was doing to take up arms against tyranny nearly 250 years ago.  "I started working at the Festival in 1966 as a fraktur artist" said Jack.   

                Ed Johnson, current president of the Historians, led me on a tour of the Folklife museum in the old Red Men's Hall.  With Al, Jack and Alan supplementing Ed as my tour guide, I felt special as each offered the history behind the history of the various exhibits.  This facility is another treasure that can educate and delight visitors and "locals."

                The Spring Frolic will be held on Sunday June 5, from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Henry Antes Plantation, 318 Colonial Road in Perkiomenville (Upper Frederick Township). The event is free and open to the public.

                The Fiftieth Annual Goschenhoppen Folk Festival will be held on August 12 and 13 at the same location.  Watch for a Fiftieth Anniversary Special Feature in an upcoming edition of the Town and Country in July.

                A must on your summer schedule is a visit to the Goschenhoppen Historians Folklife Museum and their Country Store Museum.  Both are located in Red Men's Hall, a former fraternal lodge build by the order of the improved Order of Red Men in 1907, at 116 Gravel Pike in Green Lane. 

                The museums are open from 1:30 – 4 p.m. on the second and third Sundays from April through October.

                For more information on the Goschenhoppen Historians, their events, museums and other activities, call 215-234-8953 or visit their website at





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