German villages in Pennsylvania tell the story of America’s largest ethnic community. More over 50 million Americans claim to be of German origin.
More over 3.5 million of them live in German communities in Pennsylvania, making it the state with the highest proportion of German Americans. Many of them have become fully integrated, and many do not speak German at all. Some, on the other hand, have a strong sense of belonging to their nation of origin and make an effort to express it in the towns where they dwell.
German immigrants established what are known as German Towns, in which they worked hard to preserve their culture, history, and language. Visiting those places is similar to going to downtown Munich.
Because so few of us have the opportunity to visit genuine Germany, why not immerse ourselves in Germany right on your doorstep? It’s far cheaper and just as enjoyable.
Did you know that Germans were responsible for the first kindergartens, hot dogs, hamburgers, and even the Christmas tree tradition in the United States?
Pennsylvania’s German Heritage
Amish Farm in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania – German Towns in Pennsylvania
A Guide to Saxonburg Oktoberfest
Saxonburg Oktoberfest is an annual festival hosted in the picturesque Pennsylvania hamlet of Saxonburg. Every October, the town celebrates its German roots with family-friendly activities and entertainment. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about the Saxonburg Oktoberfest and how to make the most of your visit.
I. Saxonburg Oktoberfest Overview- German Towns in Pennsylvania
The Saxonburg Oktoberfest is an annual event held in October. The event takes place in the historic town of Saxonburg, Pennsylvania, which has strong ties to German ancestry. The event is jam-packed with festive activities and entertainment for the entire family to enjoy. The event lasts two or three days and features live music, food, beer, and shopping.
II. Attractions and Events – German Towns in Pennsylvania
There’s something for everyone at the Saxonburg Oktoberfest. Live music from local bands and DJs is available for those wishing to get their groove on. There are carnival games and rides, face painting, and other fun activities for the kids. There are beer gardens and wine tastings for the grownups.
Food and beverages- German Towns in Pennsylvania
Saxonburg Oktoberfest provides a variety of delectable culinary and beverage alternatives. There’s something for everyone’s taste, from classic German cuisine like bratwurst and sauerkraut to more modern stuff like pizza and burgers. This celebration would be incomplete without beer and wine. Craft beers and wines from local vineyards and brewers are available.
IV. Retail and Specialty Items- German Towns in Pennsylvania
Saxonburg Oktoberfest sells a variety of one-of-a-kind souvenirs and specialised items. Handmade jewellery, apparel, paintings, and other items are available from local merchants. There are also sellers selling German-themed things such as steins, mugs, and other typical trinkets.
V. Memorable Experience Tips -German Towns in Pennsylvania
Saxonburg Oktoberfest is a fun event for people of all ages, but there are a few things you should know to have a fun and safe time. First and foremost, you must be aware of your surroundings. Keep an eye on your valuables and be mindful of your alcohol usage. Bring cash as well, as some sellers may only accept cash. Finally, bring comfortable shoes because there will be a lot of walking.
What drew Germans to Pennsylvania? Many Germans were forced to flee their homes in the 1700s and 1800s to avoid severe religious persecution, according to history.
Not just Germans. What we now call German Americans or Pennsylvania Dutch (they are not Dutch from the Netherlands) originated in southern Germany – Bavaria, Saxony, Switzerland, Tyrol in Italy, Belgium, Luxemburg, and other European nations where some people spoke German.
The majority of them first settled in the southeast corner of Pennsylvania (today Northampton, Lancaster, Berks, Lehigh, Bucks, Montgomery, York, and other counties).
They were allowed to speak their native language and follow their faith there. The majority were Anabaptist – Amish and Mennonites – but there were also German Reformed, Lutheran, Moravian, and other denominations.
Farmers and artisans were the first Germans in Pennsylvania. They struggled hard to maintain their culture, religion, language, and way of life. Others, particularly the younger generation, have completely integrated and become Americanized, not even speaking their native language, German.
With the freedom to do so in the Land of Liberty, some German Americans created miniature replicas of their home towns, much to the delight of visitors, German and non-German alike, with traditional architecture, music, food, and festivals.
Kutztown is a small town of about 5,000 people that grew on land purchased by George Kutz in 1755. The majority of residents are of German origin, and much of the town has a carefully preserved Old Country feel.
There are 160 Old Order Mennonite families in Kutztown. They lead a simple life, refusing modern conveniences. Expect to see them riding the horse and buggy through town.
The Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center at the University of Pennsylvania and the Kutztown Area Historical Society are the best places to learn about the town’s history. It is both a library and a museum housed in a magnificent old Victorian structure.
The Saucon Creek Craft Brewery & Gastropub serves beer made in the old German tradition. It complements their port tots and pierogi fries perfectly.
The best time to visit is in July, when the Kutztown Folk Festival celebrates local culture, arts, and food.
If you’re looking for a place to stay overnight, check out the Main Street Inn, a small boutique hotel in the heart of Kutztown, just a short walk from the Kutztown University of Pennsylvania campus. It is housed in a beautifully restored 1870s mansion.
While everything is brand new, it is designed to appear old, authentic, and ancient. Even in Germany, it is possible to find a town that is so Old Germany. Stroudsburg Village is regarded as one of the best places to shop for antiques.
The streets are lined with old shady trees, pubs, and small shops selling everything from wine, candy, and coffee to dolls, games, crafts, and gifts. Visit the Robot and Music Box Museums. Cars are not permitted in the village.
Stroll through the village to admire the unusual architecture and beautiful gardens. Relax on the village plaza, where a fountain with a cherub named “Peaches” cools the air and soothes the soul.
There are no hotels in Stroudsburg Village, so unless one of the residents invites you to stay with him, you will have to find lodging in nearby Adamstown.
Pink Cherry Blossom Trees in Germantown, MD USA – The most german state in America
Germantown, a charming small European oasis in Northwest Philadelphia, was founded in 1683 by German, Mennonite, and Quaker families. It was originally an independent borough before being absorbed into Philadelphia.
Stroll down Germantown Avenue to soak up the rich history and see magnificent 18th-century homes and traditional German taverns. Modern boutiques and popular cafes are frequently housed in traditional 300-year-old storefronts.
The American’s oldest rose garden, located at Wyck House, as well as the beautiful Pink Cherry blossom trees, should not be missed.
The best time to visit is in the summer, when the Cliveden mansion hosts the Revolutionary Germantown Festival to commemorate the 1777 Battle of Germantown, which took place in the mansion’s backyard.
Stay at La Reserve, a historic Philadelphia bed and breakfast comprised of two 1850s beautifully preserved townhouses located three blocks from the heart of historic Philadelphia.
Ephrata has always been known as a resort town due to its famous healing spring waters. That tradition is continued at the Mountain Springs Hampton Inn and Suites.
With its charming shops and taverns, the main street exemplifies the town’s personality.
Religion has always played an important role in shaping Ephrata’s identity. The Ephrata Cloister (pictured above), America’s first religious communal society, is located in the town.
The cloister is a national historic site. Its distinctive art, architecture, and music draw visitors on a regular basis, particularly during annual events such as Apple Dumpling Days in early October.
The best time to visit is in September, during the Ephrata Fair, Pennsylvania’s largest street fair.
Stay at the magnificent historic Smithton Inn, which is housed in a beautifully restored 1763 home.
When in Ephrata, visit the Green Dragon Farmers Market & Auction, one of the largest farmers’ markets in the United States, which is open on Fridays.
Butler County, Saxonburg
In 1832, Saxonburg was founded as a German farming colony. F. Carl and John A. Roebling, German immigrants, designed Saxonburg’s Main Street to resemble a quaint, small German hamlet.
The town is small but charming, with many reminders of its rich history and German origins. Main Street has 34 historic buildings, allowing Saxonburg to retain many of its original features and character.As you walk through town, you will notice that almost every building has a plaque explaining its origins and history.The Saxonburg Museum and a historic general store are the best places to learn about the town’s history.The best time to visit Saxonburg is during the annual carnival in August.
The Armstrong Farms B&B, located in a beautifully restored 1816 farmhouse, is a great place to spend a few days.
Butler County, Harmony
Harmony, a quaint village of about 1000 people about 30 miles from Pittsburgh, was founded in 1804 by the Harmony Society of German Lutheran Separatists.
Harmony is Western Pennsylvania’s first National Landmark District, with beautifully restored old brick houses and log buildings.
Harmony’s charming Landmark District has a lot of the charm of an old German village. It consists of over 50 structures. The town’s historical society provides tours of the informative Harmony Museum, a beautifully preserved log house, and other interesting locations.
Lunch or dinner in the beautifully preserved Victorian mansion that once belonged to the railroad president is not to be missed.
The best time to visit is during the “In Harmony” Heritage Music Festival in July.
To stay in the historical spirit, visit the Harmony Inn, a charming inn, restaurant, and bar located in the Harmony historic district. It is housed in a beautifully restored old European-style house.
Recommendations in Pennsylvania: German Towns in Pennsylvania
Lititz was named America’s coolest small town in 2013, and for good reason. Its quaint downtown is filled with beautifully restored 200-year-old houses that are now home to trendy boutiques, cafes, and restaurants.
Lititz was founded in 1756 by Moravian Church members. It was named after a castle in Bohemia near Kunvald, where the Bohemian Brethren’s Church was founded in 1457.Everything in Lititz is ancient, but it has been beautifully restored and preserved. Lititz Springs Park is a 200-year-old community gathering place.The Lititz Historical Foundation is housed in the 1792 Mueller House, which also houses the Lititz Museum and the Johannes Mueller House.
The museum guides are dressed in 18th-century costumes and tell the story of family life in the 18th century.
Lititz is alive and well, despite its age and origin. It is undeniably the twenty-first century.
Thursday Farmers Market, Wilbur Chocolate Store, and Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery, the country’s oldest pretzel bakery, are all must-sees.if you want to stay longer and explore, book a room at Lititz Springs Inn & Spa, a historic inn founded in 1764.Now that we’ve discussed the German towns in Pennsylvania, let’s take a look at some of the German festivals that you can attend while you’re there.
Pennsylvania Oktoberfest-German Towns in Pennsylvania
Oktoberfest is celebrated all over the world because it is so much fun that people all over the world decided it was something they should have as well. A lot of beer, great traditional German food, folk music, and dancing is simply irresistible.
Oktoberfest Festivities-German Towns in Pennsylvania
Naturally, towns with a large German population do a much better, or at least more authentic, job. Every year, some Pennsylvania towns go out of their way to attract tourists and share German traditions with them.
There will be a lot of beer, both German and local, traditional German food, competitions, folk dancing and singing, children’s activities, races, and general fun. The majority of festivals are free to attend.
Oktoberfest is held in almost every German town in Pennsylvania. You can bet your lederhosen that every brewery is having some Oktoberfest fun as well. Many churches do as well. Here is a list of towns that you might want to visit during Oktoberfest.
- Oktoberfest Teutonia Mannerchor Oktoberfest at Cannstatter Volksfest-Verein, PA
- Warminster’s Bucks-Mont Oktoberfest
- Boyertown Oktoberfest in Boyertown, Pennsylvania
- Pennsylvania Canonsburg’s Bavarian Oktoberfest
- Lancaster Liederkranz Oktoberfest is held in Manheim, Pennsylvania.
- Ardmore Oktoberfest- Ardmore, Pennsylvania
- Glenside, PA St. Paul’s Oktoberfest
- Bethlehem Oktoberfest- Bethlehem, PA
- Mifflinburg Oktoberfest is held in Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania.
- Folk Festival in Kutztown
The Kutztown Folk Festival is America’s oldest folklife festival. The celebrations attract visitors from all over the world for nine days. It entertains families while also providing a valuable glimpse into the traditions, culture, and way of life of German Towns in Pennsylvania.
There are numerous activities for children at the festival. During the festival, visitors can attend the largest quilt auction and sale in the United States.
Festival of German Heritage – German Towns in Pennsylvania
The German Society of Pennsylvania organises the German Heritage Festival, which takes place in their events hall in Philadelphia.Other aspects of German culture celebrated at the festival include recent history, such as German reunification and the fall of the Berlin Wall, as well as Renaissance and mediaeval history.Food, beer, music, folk dancing, and even a bit of education are unavoidable at the festival.Check out the German Society of Pennsylvania’s official website for more information on this event.
Visiting Pennsylvania’s German towns is both entertaining and educational. There is a strong sense of history and a desire to preserve ethnic identity. The best time to visit any German town is, of course, during one of the annual festivals. There’s no better way to get to know someone than by sharing their food and drink.