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26 March 2008 @ 09:01 am
wayback wednesday: other people's entertainment  
So, our work email has been getting spammed lately by press releases for The Kutztown Festival. I ignored them at first, but after a dozen or so, I decided to take a peek, figuring it'd at least give me pleasant thoughts of banjos and Pennsylvania Dutch pot pie. Of course, they have those (plus an ox roast!) but in addition to events like hoedowning, sheep sheering, dialect contests, the sauerkraut band, and something called "Meet the Mennonites," there was another event that particularly caught my eye: The Hanging of Susanna Cox.

Apparently each year they (and other Pennsylvania Dutch folk festivals) re-enact the hanging of this poor serving girl who was seduced by a neighbor, becoming pregnant ("the luckless girl, perhaps from the very simplicity of her disposition too easy a prey to the wiles of the designer, was led aside from the path of virtue, and confronted with the consequences of her error"). In fear and confusion, the poor girl hid her condition, then killed the baby, and was executed for it.

Originally, I gather, it was reenacted as a moral lesson, but now the re-enactments are defended on the grounds that they are a tradition. So odd. Seems to me that watching a young girl hung in a fake gallows is a real great way to ruin an otherwise lovely day of listening to accordions and eating shoefly pie, especially as it's repeated three times a day, making it hard to miss. Humans are such strange creatures.

 
 
Listening to: Robyn Hitchcock - "So You Think You're In Love"
 
 
 
xterminal on March 26th, 2008 03:13 pm (UTC)
I went to the Kutztown Festival a couple of years ago; it happened to be going on while we were out in Lehighton visiting my parents. Picked up my tree-spirit-thing cane there. Parking is hell, but it's a lot of fun. The kid loved it. (We didn't get to try the ox, which wasn't ready while we were there, but we watched it turn on the spit for a while.)

I missed the hanging thing, though. That would've made my day. 'cause I'm like that.
micah: essolaerm on March 26th, 2008 03:47 pm (UTC)
yeah, the folk fest is weird. i grew up in berks, and the only controversy i remember is when somebody got pissed at the guys who ran the folk fest and said they were "too commercial" and decided to start up a competing one. yeah...weird. though not as weird as pa dutch "pot pie", utterly lacking any semblance of pie.
Pallaspallasathene8 on March 26th, 2008 09:37 pm (UTC)
I find both her ass and her hair troubling.