The summer months in Pennsylvania’s Americana Region are usually filled with a lively lineup of festivals and fairs where people gather to listen to music, mingle with others, and enjoy the delicious food they can only get this time of year.
Unfortunately, this year many of our favorite summer festivals and events risk cancelation or postponement due to COVID-19. However, you can bring the spirit of summer festivals to your home by whipping up a batch or two of your favorite festival foods with our handy guide.
When you think of festival food, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? It’s probably funnel cake! The classic Pennsylvania Dutch deep-fried dessert is a staple at many festivals and fairs in the area. You can make this festival staple at home by following this recipe. The ten ingredients needed - eggs, milk, water, vanilla extract, flour, salt, sugar, confectioner’s sugar, baking powder, and oil are probably already in your pantry.
You’ll need a funnel to pour the batter into the oil and once the cake is golden brown, flip to cook on the other side. Once finished, top with confectioner’s sugar and enjoy!
Another Pennsylvania Dutch classic festival treat is the apple dumpling. The combination of the warm golden flaky crust surrounding sweet cinnamon and apple, and topped with cool vanilla ice cream is a delicacy many people look forward to all year round.
If you won’t be going to any summer festivals this year, bring the apple dumplings to your home! The process involves making the dough into small disks and filling them with the apple, brown sugar, cinnamon, butter and a salt mixture. They are then baked and served warm with the topping of your choice! We recommend vanilla ice cream or caramel sauce.
Today, you can get a variety of whoopie pies at fairs and festivals, including vanilla, chocolate chip, and even peanut butter. However, the traditional Pennsylvania Dutch dessert is made with two chocolate cakes sandwiching a layer of creamy white filling.
The easy at-home recipe is estimated to only take 20 minutes from start to finish and makes over a dozen whoopie pies so you have plenty to share! Or save them all for yourself, no judgement either way!
Ahh, Shoofly Pie! It’s a delicious Pennsylvania Dutch molasses pie that reminds many local residents of their grandparent’s baking.. Use your own family recipe or one found on Taste of Home and get started on baking this gooeyl comfort food. The pie can be enjoyed as dessert or even for breakfast alongside a cup of strong black coffee.
If you’re looking for a festival favorite that you can enjoy for dinner before indulging in all of the sweets we mentioned above, bratwursts and sausages are always a big hit at the summer festivals in Pennsylvania’s Americana region. Das Wurst Haus concessions honors our region's roots with sales of delicious bratwursts, garlic and smoked sausages, and cheddar wursts at the Kutztown Folk Festival every yea. Make the traditional sausage meal for dinner or serve your own version such as the unique recipes found here.
If you’re feeling especially ambitious, pair the meal with a side of homemade dutch fries! Guten Essen, aka good eating!
Lemons with Peppermint Sticks
If you’ve never tried drinking lemon juice through a peppermint stick before, the combination may sound absurd and unappealing, but we encourage you to give it a try! Although it started as a Baltimore tradition, this sweet and sour combo can be found at many festivals and are simple and easy to make at home.
With only two ingredients — lemons cut into halves and peppermint stick straws — they are also an affordable and time friendly treat.
Tasty Summer Treats
One of the best things about a summer festival is all of the delicious and convenient food options! While summer will soon be upon us, it is still unclear if any of the Berks County festival dates will need to be rescheduled, but there is still fun in attempting to make your own festival favorites in the comfort of your home. Give it a try and tag us in your final products on social media!