Crowds get a Taste of Kutztown

Kutztown residents Eric Johnson and his wife Cathleen Brown and  Beth and Dennis Patten came out for the Taste of Kutztown at Kutztown Park on June 10. Brown and Patten, center, are among the founding members of the Peace. Love. Kutztown campaign.
Kutztown residents Eric Johnson and his wife Cathleen Brown and Beth and Dennis Patten came out for the Taste of Kutztown at Kutztown Park on June 10. Brown and Patten, center, are among the founding members of the Peace. Love. Kutztown campaign. Lisa Mitchell - Digital First Media
Kutztown University President Dr. Kenneth Hawkinson and Kutztown School District Superintendent Dr. George Fiore, a member of the Kutztown Rotary Club, enjoyed a Taste of Kutztown at Kutztown Park on June 10.
Kutztown University President Dr. Kenneth Hawkinson and Kutztown School District Superintendent Dr. George Fiore, a member of the Kutztown Rotary Club, enjoyed a Taste of Kutztown at Kutztown Park on June 10. Lisa Mitchell - Digital First Media

The Kutztown Rotary Club’s Taste of Kutztown brought the community together on June 10 for wine, beer and food tastings.

Enjoying the event and the good weather were a number of locals, including Kutztown University President Dr. Kenneth Hawkinson.

“This is just another example of how wonderful this community is, how people come together,” said Hawkinson, who saw a number of KU hats and t-shirst on event participants.

Hawkinson saw a mix of people from KU mixed with members of the community, businesses and the local school district.

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“All of the entities that make a community great all come together at the park. One thing about these events is they are truly equalizers,” said Hawkinson. “Every ethnic group, every level of our social strata, every income level, they all come together and share the same joy and sense of community when we have these events. I hope we have more and more of them.”

Kutztown School District Superintendent Dr. George Fiore was also in attendance. He is a member of the Kutztown Rotary Club.

“We’re glad to support our community through this wonderful activity with over 1,300 tickets sold and many more at the door, so we’re really excited about what we can do for a lot of families in need and to support our community,” said Fiore.

Kempton resident Raine Fussner said the people, the fun and the wine brought her out to Kutztown Park that day.

“It’s just nice to bring the whole community together. It’s fun. The kids have activities as well as the adults,” said Fussner.

Kutztown resident Eric Johnson and his wife Cathleen Brown came out to enjoy wine tastings in the shade of the park. They enjoyed talking with locals as well as meeting new people from out of town.

“There’s all kinds of different clubs and groups from this town that come together that pull it off so it really is a town pride kind of thing, too, I think,” said Johnson.

Kutztown resident Beth Patten came with her husband Dennis Patten.

“I like that the whole community is coming together and really appreciate what Kutztown has to offer in terms of food and wine and beer,” said Patten, who is a founding member with Brown of the Peace. Love. Kutztown. campaign to spread peace and love in Kutztown. “I think it’s a great event.”

Patten agreed with Brown that the event also pulls in people from outside town, which she said is great.

“People from the Lehigh Valley need to come to Kutztown and see everything that we have to offer,” said Patten.

Rotarian Jim Springer said the day was going fantastic, the weather, the people, the volunteers and Rotary. The response to the event has been phenomenal, he said.

“We had a crush of pre-ticket sales, with online ticket sales,” said Springer, noting that they made adjustments at registration to be able to move people through the line quicker.

“We were prepared but we weren’t quite prepared for this many people which is just wow. Fantastic,” said Springer, who at that time couldn’t say how many attended, just that attendance had increased from last year’s event.

Springer said that when started the Taste of Kutztown eight years ago, he three objectives: promote Kutztown Rotary Club, promote local businesses and raise funds for Rotary programs that benefit the community. They have achieved those goals.

“Most of all, just working together with everyone, can’t tell you how exciting that is. Makes you feel really good,” said Springer.

The event featured wine tastings by 16 wineries, beer tastings by 10 breweries, and more than 50 craft and food vendors offering their products for sale.

What makes this a Taste of Kutztown were the local vendors, including Spuds burgers and fries from Kutztown, Mamma’s Pizza from Kutztown, beer and food from Saucony Creek Brewing from Maxatawny, Subarashii Kudamono dessert wine made from Asian pears grown in Kempton, a wide range of wines from Blue Mountain Winery in New Tripoli, wines from Antler Ridge Winery in Mertztown, wines from Vyncrest Winery on Main in Kutztown and wines from Folino Estate Vineyard & Winery in Kutztown, plus numerous vendors selling various items and live music performed by local musicians, to name a few, plus a number of vendors from outside of the area to add diversity.

Springer thanked everyone on the event committee and the Rotary Club who helped make the event possible.

About the Author

Lisa Mitchell

Lisa Mitchell is the editor of The Kutztown Patriot and Managing Editor of Berks-Mont Newspapers. Reach the author at lmitchell@berksmontnews.com or follow Lisa on Twitter: @kutztownpatriot.