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Goschenhoppen Folk Festival Back Stronger than Ever
Written by Jennifer Frieze, Correspondent
2022-08-17

Event highlights German colonial life in our region

 

            This year marked the 54th annual Goschenhoppen Folk Festival. The event preserves the traditional life of the Pennsylvania-Germans and has not taken place since 2019. The pandemic put a halt to it. However, this year locals and volunteers came out for a lively two days of Pennsylvania-German culture, food and festivities.

            Early estimates report that between 6,500 and 7,000 festival goers attended this year's event.

            The festival is held on the grounds of the historic Henry Antes Plantation. Dedicated volunteers dress in authentic 18th and 19th century clothing as they perform

Amon Ruth tends to a horse that is walking a tread-

mill to power a thrashing machine.

reenactments and demonstrations of daily life.  This festival keeps these traditions from vanishing completely and are an integral part of the historic fabric of our area.

            At the festival, visitors can learn about traditional leatherwork, rope making, blacksmithing, wool spinning, hearth cooks, and rake makers, just to name a few. John and Natalie Warren make and sell traditional house and barn brooms. The brooms are worth every penny. You will not find a broom of this quality in any major store these days.

            The Antes Plantation has a beautiful traditional herb and vegetable garden that is maintained by volunteers throughout the year. Visitors can explore the garden that keeps the foods and home medicines of the Pennsylvania Germans.

            Happy farm animals can be seen at the festival. Sheep and piglets are part of the farm education. Horse-drawn wagons are a delight. Horses, sheep and pigs were an important part of the farm and survival for the Pennsylvania-Germans. Pigs provided a meat source, sheep wool and food and of course horses were the additional muscle for work in the field. Horse hair was also utilized for a variety of household uses.

            Wendy Grube and her daughter, Katlyn Hall, provided a lovely demonstration

The Goschenhoppen Festival Fiddlers could be 

found wandering around the grounds and performing

period music on the stage.

on traditional medicines used by this culture. Wendy is a registered professional herbalist and a retired professor from the University of Pennsylvania. Her daughter is a keeper of herbal remedies and serves as her apprentice. They shared cultivation and applications of common herbs with visitors.

            The home apothecary was simple but complete. Women were the keepers of this art and cultivated herbs and flowers to heal their family and community. Feverfew, sweet woodruff, lemon balm and a variety of mints were utilized as well as native and medicinal plants. The indigenous population shared the knowledge of native plants with the settlers.

            Revolutionary war reenactors are also an important part of the festival. Their presence

re-tells the story of when the Continental Army camped near the grounds and George Washington briefly used the house as his headquarters in September 1777.

            Jim Ley of the Pennsylvania Reenactment Group explained the history and the items soldiers used in their daily life. He also shared his family's long history of living in Pennsylvania and defending the state against the British. The group dresses in traditional clothing and carries muskets and Revolutionary soldiers' gear. It's a glimpse

Members of the Donegal Rigleman and the 1st 

Pennsylvania Regiment fire a volley as a demon-

stration of 1700's guns.

into the historic past and the foundation of our great country.

            In addition to all the amazing demonstrations and education, there was a lot of great food! Period-accurate Pennsylvania-Dutch dishes include ring bologna, cheeses, pickled eggs and cabbage, corn pie, lima beans and summer sausage. Visitors bought homemade pies, breads and apple dumplings. There was also fresh roasted corn, watermelon and homemade sugar candy. A food delight for all to enjoy.

            The Goschenhoppen Folk Festival is an event to visit every year. Since 1967, this non-commercial family oriented event has been maintaining the culture of the Pennsylvania-Germans.

            There is something for everyone at the festival. It is a great time and worth the visit every year.

 


 

 

 

 

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