Springs Folk Festival October 1-2


Who could imagine a traditional German feast without sauerkraut?

The 63rd annual Springs Folk Festival, which takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, is deeply rooted in the German culture that surrounds the region. Much like its inaugural event on October 11, 1958, harvest cuisine like sauerkraut, apples and corn are still on the menu.

According to Harriet Berg, publicity director for the festival, the team of volunteers get together and harvest 8,000 pounds of cabbage and turn them into sauerkraut for the two-day event. Johnny Martin annually oversees his “Kraut Krew” for cabbage processing.

In addition to sauerkraut, other Pennsylvania Dutch dishes include pancake and sausage meals, homemade donuts and pies, and bread made in a

outdoor oven. There is also apple cider available with American favorites such as burgers and hot dogs.

Johnny Martin, Head of "Kraut Krew," It takes a while to cut the sauerkraut during the Springs Folk Festival 2019, set this year for Friday and Saturday.  Martin and his group turn 8,000 pounds of cabbage into sauerkraut for the festival.

“Many festival-goers were disappointed that last year’s festival had to be canceled, but they understood it was for safety reasons. We’re delighted to be back, and plans include some differences in operation to accommodate the guidelines in place at the moment, ”says Berg. “The Springs Folk (Festival) is like stepping back in time when the arts, skills and work of our ancestors are celebrated and presented to the public. Regardless of your age, the folk festival creates memories for a lifetime. . “

Springs Folk Fest started with a dream

With activities such as baking bread, weaving, cutting logs, threshing grain and hay walks, the season comes alive in one place for two days. Bluegrass and gospel music also fill the air with the Springs Museum as the backdrop for the event.

Change of direction

This year, a new face is at the head of the group. Jess Spiker is the new president, following in the footsteps of former president Don Betler and, before that, Joe Bender of Springs, who had held the post for 27 years.

Berg said the teams were working hard, spending many hours a day updating the facilities and getting ready for the festival.

“Festival goers are eager to bring their children and grandchildren to learn and appreciate how our ancestors worked and played, just as they did when accompanied by their parents and grandparents,” said Berg. “The sights, sounds and smells will be etched in their memories as ancient farm equipment such as the hay baler flies away and the clatter of blacksmith’s tools on the iron creates sounds we all no longer hear. days.”

Alta Schrock original idea

The festival was conceived by Dr Alta E. Schrock – who lived from April 3, 1911 to November 7, 2001 – a woman like no other.

Schrock not only started the festival, but also founded the Springs Historical Society, the Springs Museum, Penn Alps Inc., the Spruce Forest Artisan Village and a total of 17 philanthropic organizations. She was the first Mennonite woman to receive a doctorate in biology and was inducted into the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame and the Garrett County Hall of Fame.

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His vision of holding a “gala” where the impetus was to preserve the best of pioneering craftsmanship and farm, home and store activities came to life on October 11, 1958, when at least 2,000 guests and over 100 community volunteers attended. the first festival, according to the 1983 Casselman Chronicle.

From that point on, the folk festival gained momentum by appealing to the community and becoming a scheduled fall festival in the tri-state region with visitors from several different states. This festival has gained a solid base of volunteers from the fertile Casselman Valley stretching from Somerset County, Pennsylvania to Garrett County, Maryland.

According to Berg, Alta felt that the folk festival’s greatest success was not in its number of guests, but in demonstrating community spirit, in mobilizing creative forces from Somerset to Oakland, Maryland, and in the hard work carried out by the local citizens to ensure the success of the company.

“Lifetime supporters of Schrock and the festival, Verda Yoder and Ralph Miller, scoured the mountains and valleys in search of ‘elders’ who could use the first American tools we had in the museum,” Berg said. “No stone has been overlooked to trace rumors that ‘Uncle Joe’ or ‘Cousin John’ might swing a wide ax, dress the floors, shave shingles or sniff out grain. They knew this breed was disappearing fast.”

Grow over time

Over the course of these 63 years, as the facility grew, lean-tos, then tents, and then enclosed buildings were erected to house the growing number of protesters and artisans.

Vocal and instrumental music was introduced in the evening performances, which developed into a full daytime musical program presented in a music building as well as on a stage along the forest trail. The two-story Springs Museum has continued to evolve to bear witness to the past.

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“Over the years the volunteers, whose names are too many to mention, have faced many obstacles including inclement weather, fires and vandalism, but the event continues,” Berg said.

An exceptional range of quality handcrafted items, many offered by new vendors, will be at this year’s folk festival. The market offers a one-of-a-kind shopping adventure – paintings, baskets, wood furniture, quilts and dulcimers, with over 100 artisans sworn in. There are lots of new demos this year including fly tying and leather crafting.

Folk festival food brings back memories to many as they enjoy kettle corn, Pennsylvania Dutch sausage dishes, pancakes and sausages, bean soup, homemade bread baked in an outdoor oven, fried donuts and many other items.

Admission includes parking, entrance to the park and museum, musical performances and demonstrations.

For more information, visit the folk festival page at www.springspa.org, visit the Facebook page or call 814-442-4594. All dates and events are subject to change due to COVID-19. All events will take place at 1711 Springs Road, Springs.

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