Folk festival celebrates Pennsylvania Dutch heritage


For 42 years the Kutztown Folk Festival has celebrated the unique culture and heritage of the Pennsylvania Dutch. This year's nine-day event opens Saturday and continues through July 7 at the fairgrounds in Kutztown, Pa.

There is so much to see that you probably won't be able to see it all in one visit. Twenty events are scheduled each day. You'll find everything from live farm animals to sheep shearing, puppet shows, a re-enactment of an Amish wedding and a one-room schoolhouse. Programs on the Main Stage will range from polka bands to Pennsylvania Dutch humor to a country auction. There will be folk-life seminars on Pennsylvania Dutch culture with information on costumes, food, music, woodworking and the lifestyles of the Amish and Mennonite people. Dancers will perform hoedowning, square dancing and jigging every hour on the hour between noon and 4 p.m., and after the show they will instruct the audience in hoedowning.

More than 200 craftspeople will demonstrate 18th and 19th century crafts. Glass blowing, vegetable dyeing, spinning and soap making are some of the skills you will see. The 27th annual Quilting Contest is another big draw with hundreds of quilts entered, many of which will be for sale. And last but not least is the wide variety of Pennsylvania Dutch food available at the festival -- all-you-can-eat dinners, dumplings and apples, potpie, funnel cake and much more.

Gates are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with activities continuing until 7 p.m. Admission for all activities, events and entertainment is $7 for adults; $3 for children under 12.

Kutztown is on U.S. 222 between Reading and Allentown, Pa. For information, call (800) 447-9269.

... The ninth annual Civil War Heritage Days in Gettysburg begin on Friday and run through July 7. Activities include a living history camp by the National Park Service on July 6 and 7, band concerts and evening lectures by leading historians.

Highlight of the event will be a battle re-enactment staged by the 63rd Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, Company F, next Sunday to commemorate the 128th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. It will be held at 2 p.m. near the intersection of U.S. 15 (bypass) and Route 97. An "Encampment Day" on Saturday will allow visitors to tour the camps and see demonstrations of in- fantry and artillery drills, cavalry presentations, signal corp demonstrations, a ladies' fashion show, an 1860s school and period social events.

Tickets for the battle re-enactment cost $5 per person; admission is free to children under 6 accompanied by an adult. Tickets can be ordered in advance by calling (717) 334-6245. Tickets for "Encampment Day" cost $1 per person and will be sold only at the site. Admission is free to children under 6.

Other attractions are the 17th annual Gettysburg Civil War Collectors Show and the annual Firemen's Festival.

The event is co-sponsored by the Gettysburg Travel Council, Gettysburg National Military Park and the Mason-Dixon Civil War Collectors Association. For information, call (717) 334-6274.

... The National Mall in Washington will be the stage for another major event -- the 25th annual Festival of American Folklife, which opens on Friday and runs through July 1, then resumes July 4-7. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily with dance parties from 5:30 to 7 every evening except July 4.

Each year the festival features four different themes, and this year's programs include Indonesia, the family farm, American Indians and 25th anniversary musical events.

As part of the national Festival of Indonesia 1990-'91, the Indonesian program looks at some of that nation's cultural traditions. You'll see Dayak people from Kalimantan carving masks and decorating baby carriers, Buginese sailors showing their skill at boat-building and Javanese entertainers performing gamelan music, a masked dance and "reyog" processional drama. Children can make shadow puppets or play a gamelan instrument. Wayang Kulit, an Indonesian shadow puppet theater, will offer an all-night performance from 9 p.m. Saturday to 3 a.m. next Sunday.

"Family Farming in the Heartland" features farmers from 12 midwestern states who will discuss the changes in farming during the last century and demonstrate farming skills and machinery. Entertainment includes a midwestern fiddlers' contest, a Wisconsin polka band and an Illinois square dance. Visitors can participate in making a family quilt, carving a wooden bowl and preserving fruit.

Members of some cultural groups native to the Western Hemisphere (Alaska, the Andean highlands of Bolivia and Peru, Mexico, Ecuador and Arizona) will examine the way various groups used their land and preserved their culture. There will be food, craft and ceremonial demonstrations.

The history of rhythm and blues is highlighted by performances of three generations of rhythm and blues musicians in the main tent. Concessions at each site will sell traditional Midwestern, Indonesian and Central American foods.

Co-sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution and the National Park Service, all programs are free. For information, call (202) 357-2700 or during the festival call (202) 357-4574 for a recording of daily events.

Woodlawn Plantation in Mount Vernon, Va., will host its first Heritage Arts and Crafts Day on Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Craftspeople will demonstrate blacksmithing, spinning, furniture making, soap making and other 19th century crafts. Many crafts and antiques will be for sale. Antiques experts will be on hand to conduct antiques seminars and give information about and appraisals of your family heirlooms for a small fee.

A folklorist will entertain with folk music, stories and humor for all ages. Strolling musicians will roam the grounds, and children can enjoy a number of old-fashioned games. Food will be available. There will also be tours of Woodlawn, the former home of George Washington's nephew and adopted niece, Lawrence and Nelly Custis Lewis.

Admission is $3 for adults, $2 for seniors and students through grade 12. Rain date is the following day.

The plantation is at the intersection of U.S. 1 and Route 235 in Mount Vernon. Signs are posted from Interstate 95. For information, call (703) 780-4000.

... The 13th annual Military Field Days will be held at Fort Frederick State Park in Big Pool Saturday and next Sunday.

Military units of the French and Indian War, the American Revolution and the Civil War will set up camps and engage in tactical demonstrations both days from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. There will also be demonstrations of frontier crafts, and sutlers will sell period wares and frontier crafts.

Admission is $4 per car for those with Maryland licenses. Fort Frederick is on Route 56, one mile east of Interstate 70 (Exit 12). For information, call (301) 842-2155.

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