Celebrating the region’s folk culture and language, the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center at Kutztown University invites you to come to the farm for Heemet Fescht Lite on September 25 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with music playing live in the farmyard and demonstrations of traditional folk life.
Heemet (pronounced HAY-met), means both homeland and homeland in Pennsylvania Dutch and emphasizes the importance of our sense of belonging to our cultural community.
This year’s event will highlight music, the arts and backyard eating habits – three important ways to experience our unique culture.
The first of the day’s shows will be the Martin Sisters Band at noon, with violin champions Emily, Melissa and Christy Martin, who will enchant you with their three-part harmonies and their vivid mix of western and swing and jazz from years 40.
At 1 p.m., internationally acclaimed Mike and Linda Hertzog will perform the classics of Pennsylvania Dutch and bluegrass. At 2 p.m. Benjamin Rader will present a unique new blend of Pennsylvania German dialect with wild acoustic vibes and contemporary rock, and at 3 p.m. join local Jug-Grass band Uncle Jake and the 18 Wheel Gang for a good time. roaring!
Among the artisans featured at this event will be Eric Claypoole, Berks County Prolific Barn Painter, whose work can be seen on dozens of area barns, including the 1855 Sharadin Barn on the Heritage Center museum site.
Demonstrating a mix of traditional geometric barn stars and contemporary hexagonal signs, Eric has been painting for 50 years and is responsible for the majority of barns featured on the Barn Star Art Tour of the Pennsylvania Americana region.
Heemet Fescht will present the works of several members of the Reading-Berks chapter of the Pennsylvania Craftsmen’s Guild, including German folk art prints from Pennsylvania and paper stars by Matt and Elaine Vardjan, works by tinsmith Ray Oxenford and the toleware painter Pat Oxenford, and custom country furniture by Barry Bennecoff.
Visitors will enjoy fresh bread and churned butter by seasoned Pennsylvania Dutch baker Terry Berger of Lay or Bust Farm in Lehighton, as well as homemade jams, pickles, jellies, chow chow and canned food. Ellen’s Garden, also with fresh flowers and fall decorations.
Children can paint pumpkins and learn to play the guitar with “Make your own music” by Butch Imhoff.
While the traditional corn pies and homemade sausage stew from the Old Time Plow Boys Tractor club will be missed this year, we’re excited to welcome Smokehouse Food Truck and Sweet Ride Ice Cream to the farm for the very first time.
This year’s “Lite” event will be a bit different from previous years, as it will be exclusively outdoors. The buildings of the Heritage Center museum are closed due to the construction of a new headquarters for the Library and Archives of the Heritage Center.
This exciting project is slated for completion this winter and will strengthen the Heritage Center’s mission to preserve and celebrate the folk culture, history and language of the German cultural region of Pennsylvania in an educational setting unique to Kutztown University.
For more information on Heemet Fescht, visit us at www.kutztown.edu/pgchc or Facebook.com/pgchc.
Patrick Donmoyer is director of the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center at Kutztown University, Kutztown.