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Berks County Heritage Festival

by Kyra Connolly, Alvernia University

Berks County Heritage Festival

Take a step back in time in Berks County history. The Berks County Heritage Festival will allow you to hit the pause button on your life for one day and be able to look back on local history. On Sunday, October 6, 2019, the Department of Parks and Recreation presents the 38th Annual Heritage Festival. The events begin at 11:00 am and will run until 4:30 pm at the Berks County Heritage Center located at 1102 Red Bridge Road Reading, PA. The festival is dedicated to celebrating the area of Berks County and its history.    

According to the County of Berks, Pennsylvania website, so many different exciting themes and events take place at this festival each year. These include demonstrations, exhibitions, music, lectures, walks, and arts and crafts. The Berks County Heritage Center is a great place to hold this event.

John Cowgill, from Washington D.C., says, “There is so much to see here, and it says so much about the heritage of the region. Even if you are not from the area, it is still worth visiting.” Cowgill proves that everyone needs to go to this event, eat lots of food, and have a fantastic time.

In 2014, the superintendent of interpretive services for the Berks County Parks and Recreation Department, Cathy Wegner, stated, “We work to keep the festival interesting from year to year, but our main goal is to keep history alive fort participants.” This quote was in an article called Local History Lives On at Heritage Festival. Wegener proves how great the festival is each year and how it is a fantastic opportunity to be a part of and such a fun experience.

This festival is an excellent time for people to reconnect, meet people who live near them, allows locals to see what Berks County was like in the past and for people who grew up there, it will enable them to come back for a visit to see how Berks County has changed. Wegener also states, “I think it’s important for people to have the opportunity to see how things used to be.”    

This year, this one-day event features a bunch of activities, including crafts, great food, music, demonstrations, displays, and much more. On Berks County’s Heritage Festival Facebook page, they give a list of the events and activities occurring that day in great detail. People may bring chairs and blankets to watch and enjoy the many performances that will be going on throughout the day. Sunday’s activities throughout the day include draft horse driving activities, a carriage and wagon show, storytelling and history lectures, homemade crafts, Wahoo Medicine Show and Phydeaux’s Flying Flea circus with George Esparza.

Their Facebook page also gives details about the specific times that everything is occurring. Also, admission to the event is free! Over the course of the day, there will be arts and crafts vendors, antique farm equipment, the history of the Lenni Lenape Indians will be shared, the running of the Otto Engine in the Gruber Wagon Works, and tours of the Hiester Canal Center, Gruber Wagon Works, and Melcher’s Grist Mill are offered. Sam Schmidthuber will also be performing at this event. There will also be great food at this event; food trucks will be available with some delicious festival food for you to enjoy, including the infamous Pennsylvania Farm Show Milkshakes.   

Before you were rolling down your window in your luxurious sedan to talk to friends, Berks County residents were wheeling in on tractors and old-school automobiles. Rewind a few decades and accept the simple life. Be a part of history at the 38th Annual Heritage Festival on Sunday, October 6, 2019, from 11 am-4:30 pm. See you there!