Wednesday, May 23, 2018


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Children, Groundhogs, Culture and Fun
Written by Larry Roeder, Editor

John Gephart and Will Stalnecker try out the groundhog toy crafts they made. After the main program children were able to participate in craft and games and visit Pennsylvania Dutch related displays.

        Dreissich kinner bedient der Fimfa Yunge Grundsau Lodsch in Die Schwenkfelder Library und Heritage Center un Samschdaag.  Oops, sorry about that; let me start over.

        Thirty children attended the fifth Children's Groundhog Lodge at the Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center on Saturday.

        What a great way to spend a little time learning about that legendary weather prognosticator and a little about the heritage and customs of the Pennsylvania-Germans who settled in our region.

        Children, parents and guests were treated to an informative history lesson about the prestigious weather forecaster on the day before the furry mammal was scheduled to make his prediction.

        Museum Educator Laura Price hosted the Lodge that had the meeting room of the Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center decked out in all things groundhog.

        Drawings and posters of groundhogs hanging from the walls helped to provide background for Price as she shared a bit of the Pennsylvania-German culture and history with the youngsters.  And a few of the parents had a chance to learn a thing or two as well.

        Also sharing information about the history and culture were members of the local organizations; Carl Arner of Groundhog Lodge #7 and Lucy Kern of the Ladies Groundhog Lodge.  Both groups call the Upper Perkiomen Valley region their home. 

        Upon arrival, children were given a set of whiskers to wear that seemed to make them feel right at home learning about their new furry friend, who was used as an important segue into learning more about the culture that some refer to as "Pennsylvania Dutch."

        After a fun music session, the children took their "Oath and Pledge to Our Groundhog" that included promising to take out the trash, clean their ears, brush their hair and clean up their rooms.  Another highlight of the day was having the children vote on a name for this year's groundhog.  Before beginning the final round of groundhog fun, Price announced that the overwhelming winning name for the groundhog was "Frederick."

        Then it was off to the fun areas to pin the tail on the groundhog, make animal masks and groundhog puppets, decipher groundhog puzzles, enjoy refreshments (including "dirt pudding") and much, much more.  Youngsters also had a chance to lean a few words in the Pennsyfawnish-Dietsche dialect.

        A celebration of Pennsylvania-German culture and history can only come about when people have the opportunity to learn about it.  It is ingrained into the psyche of many people born and raised in the region and it is a curiosity that many younger people or transplants to this area desire to learn about. 

        For five years, through their Children's Groundhog Lodge, the staff at the Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center has provided a good starting point for children of the community to begin learning about local history. 

        And each year the size of the class grows.





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