Hands down! My new favorite destination is the PA German Cultural Heritage Center at Kutztown University. Tucked behind the stately main Kutztown campus buildings is a Pennsylvania Dutch farm replete with the magnificent hex signs created by national hex sign expert and author Heritage Center Director Patrick Donomeyer. We of the 2018 Great Pennsylvania Music & Arts Celebration at the Historic Allentown Fairgrounds on Memorial Day Weekend are honored to collaborate with Patrick – on a multiple year initiative to catalog and restore Lehigh County’s fast disappearing Hex Signs.
Patrick describes Lehigh County as the lessor known leg of the “two legged pants” of the PA Dutch Heartland – coupled with Berks County – better known for its PA Dutch bonafides. Lancaster is distinguished by its rich concentration of Amish and Mennonite religious sects while sister counties York, Northampton, York, Montgomery and Bucks share in PA Dutch traditions. By the time of the American Revolution, the PA Dutch constituted 1/3 of Pennsylvania’s population.
While Berks and Lancaster counties especially have preserved and nurtured their PA Dutch roots – budding a healthy tourism industry around it (Lancaster has the second largest B&B market IN THE NATION) Lehigh has all but forgotten the pivotal role it played in Pennsylvania’s PA Dutch culture.
Through the Great Pennsylvania Music & Arts at the Historic Allentown Fairgrounds on Memorial Day Weekend the PA Music Preservation Society looks to revitalize Allentown and Lehigh County’s role in this important cultural tradition – especially through its educational and preservation focused Lehigh County Hex Sign Initiatives. Stay tuned!