The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


September 23, 2013

'Something for everyone' at New Germany Festival of Arts and Crafts

NEW GERMANY — After nearly 30 years of the New Germany Festival of Arts and Crafts, those who attend it know what they’re in for each year.

Vicki Cessna of Ebensburg brought a list of crafts she hoped to add to her home.

And others, like Eleanor Leverknight of Stoystown, brought appetites.

“I’m going home with an autumn wreath for my door. It’s just what I wanted,” said Cessna, complimenting festival organizers for the variety of crafts this year.

Festivalgoers had plenty to explore at the New Germany Grove in Summerhill Township on Sunday. More than 170 craft vendors from five states lined the festival grounds, offering pottery, hand-painted artwork and lawn ornaments.

Others sold dip mixes, chocolates and other homemade foods including elk jerky and German-style kraut.

“There’s something for everyone here,” Leverknight said.

Mackenzie Pileski, 5, of Alverda, was pouring colored sand into a small container to make her own decoration, while acoustic duo Jill and Leah Gontkovic played at the grove’s stage.

On the other side of the festival grounds, Jane Williams of Johnstown had loaded a bag full of homemade clothes and bath towels for her grandchildren.

“Pitt apparel,” she said, noting her family is Pitt proud.

But Williams also was trying to decide what to munch on next.

The kettle corn and cinnamon rolls can’t be topped, she noted.

“If you can wait the hour in line to get those cinnamon rolls, they’re worth it,” she said.

Sunday’s crowds were a blessing – especially after storms doused Saturday’s events, Summerhill fire Chief Bob Burkett said.

“It was gangbusters today. And we needed it,” he said.

The fundraiser is the fire department’s biggest of the year, Burkett noted.

While the department’s 20 or so firefighters and their families work hard to make it happen each year, he credited hundreds of local residents from the communities they serve for donating their time over the weekend.

“We couldn’t do it without them,” Burkett said.

“They just come out of the woodwork to get behind this festival. To know the community is behind us like that ... it just means so much.”

David Hurst is a reporter with The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at

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