The bluesy strains of the Kutztown Jazz Ensemble drifted over Kutztown Community Park under a sunny afternoon sky on June 11th as people from all over the region gathered for the 7th annual Taste of Kutztown Festival. It was a scorcher, but an excellent day nonetheless for sampling the refreshing flavors of local breweries and wineries; along with those of the friendly bakeries, orchards, and dairies that came out in droves to peddle and sample their various culinary wares. One of the first of such things my boyfriend and I came across was Babanonna’s Kiffles. He asked me what the heck a kiffle is, and since I couldn’t answer that question we both tried one. The definition we settled on was “Incredible”. They were flaky on the outside, gooey on the inside, and dusted with sugar. What more could you want in a pastry? Or any food, for that matter.
An assortment of fascinating local artists and artisans stood sprinkled amongst the tantalizing food tents, their shining or scented products arranged on tables for festival patrons to peruse. Sheila Sacks, a soap maker extraordinaire from eastern Pennsylvania, stood out among the other craftsmen with her unique ability to translate characters and motifs from popular movies and TV shows into scents, which she uses for some of her soaps. I highly recommend looking her up if you have a loved one who enjoys Harry Potter, Sherlock, or Doctor Who. I never thought about what Sherlock Holmes would smell like until I checked out Sheila’s booth, but it seems to me that she was spot on with her “221B ‘Bather’ Street” box.
After we had seen all there was to see of vendors, my boyfriend and I strolled over to the concert shell where the sweet jams of local bands had been adding a layer of folksy joviality to the atmosphere of the festival. I had the opportunity to speak with Jon Smith of Jonathan Monument, a musician who performed at Taste of Kutztown last year and has also played at Young Ones Records. I asked him what he thought of our town since he’s been here a few times, and after thinking for a moment he said: “Kutztown? More like Awesome Town.” I had to agree. He went on to say that Main Street is “super keen” for having so many small businesses in a condensed area. “It’s nice to see in a world so dominated by big companies,” he said.
Wandering from tent to tent, I gathered a fantastic sense of the community that is abundant in Kutztown. There was a glowing energy of friendliness and joy that I, personally, have never felt anywhere but here. I overheard a quote from a passing woman that I think perfectly describes Taste of Kutztown: “Now this is what I call ‘stinkin’ cute.”