AARONSBURG — The village of Aaronsburg welcomed the month of October with its annual Haines Township Dutch Fall Festival on Oct. 1 and 2. This event is a combination of craft fair, folk festival, food, and yard sales, and went on in spite of cool, rainy weather during the weekend.
Umbrella-toting shoppers were seen visiting vendors’ booths which lined the sidewalks along route 45 offering a wide variety of hand-crafted items, flea market delights, and food products.
On the festival grounds, many food stands were serving up homemade soup, apple butter, sandwiches, baked goods, cider, and homemade bread and sticky buns, fresh from the ovens on the grounds. In a garage on West Street, behind the Penns Valley Area Historical Museum, the museum board members did a brisk business selling their famous apple dumplings in spite of the weather. Board members and volunteers gather weeks before the festival to make nearly 1,500 dumplings, which are stored in freezers until the festival begins on Saturday. Money raised by the dumpling sale helps to support the museum.
Live music was featured throughout the festival, including 70-year-old folk and bluegrass singer and comedian Keith Brintzenhoff, from Kutztown. Brintzenhoff sings and accompanies himself on an antique autoharp. Between songs he tells well-worn jokes, speaking in a Pennsylvania Dutch accent. Brintzenhoff calls himself “the prince of puns.”
“This is my third career,” said Brintzenhoff. A graduate of Albright College, he was a junior high social studies teacher for 12 years, then operated a hobby and music store for 21 years before becoming a traveling entertainer. Brintzenhoff said he performs mostly in southeastern Pennsylvania venues, but has also performed in Germany several times, and has had a TV series aired on PCN, the Pennsylvania Cable Network.
The Penns Valley Historical Museum was open for visitors, and featured a new acquisition, an iron bell from the Watson Fort, which was located behind the Penns Valley High School building. Museum board member George Stover said the bell dates back to around 1780, and was formerly used as the iron bell trophy for the Penns Valley versus Bald Eagle Area football games. When its historical significance was discovered, the school district donated the bell to the museum, and procured a different bell for the trophy. Stover said the bell was sandblasted to remove several layers of paint which had been applied by the winning teams in the football games.
Stover also noted that the museum is preparing a new exhibit for 2017, which will feature a still dating back to around 1730. The still was found in Haines Township, and is currently being repaired and restored before being placed on exhibit.