Folk Festival brings national attention to Kutztown
Updated On: Jul 01 2013 05:10:58 AM CDT
This year marks the 64th annual Kutztown Folk Festival - the oldest, continuously operated folk-life festival in America.
This year's festival runs daily from Saturday, June 29 to Sunday, July 7.
This week-long festival draws visitors from around the world, entertaining families while providing insight and understanding of the traditions of the Pennsylvania Dutch and their fascinating way of life.
In the summer of 1950, three of America’s leading folklorists presented the first of the Kutztown Folk Festivals, using a unique hands-on approach to let “outsiders” experience firsthand what it means to be a part of a Pennsylvania Dutch family.
Key to the events' success was the ability of the “Festivals Founding Fathers” to organize the area’s local citizens and coordinate their participation in the festival. It was not actors, but the actual Pennsylvania Dutch natives who were demonstrating their everyday way of life.
Nearly 25,000 people descended on Kutztown that first year. What started as a four-day showcase during the 4th of July week, quickly grew to nine days drawing well over 130,000 attendees. Not only do multiple generations of the same families continue to present and participate at the festival, multiple generations of attendees visit the each year.
This year at the festival, you can still find traditional craftsman demonstrating their skills and tools. Farming and folk-life demonstrations abound throughout the grounds.
The sounds of square dancing jiggers and folk music fill the air, while children try their hand at many of the activities geared just to them.
Of course, the pageantry and symbols of the Pennsylvania Dutch culture such as quilts and barn stars still continue to catch the eye of all who attend.
For more information about the festival, visit www.kutztownfestival.com.
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