Kutztown is great any time of the year, but there is something about this town in the summertime. The population drops as the majority of students head back to their hometown for the summer. Locals begin to frequent the restaurants, shops, and parks. And weekend after weekend is filled with some sort of annual summertime event. It really is the best time to come to this town. Even though there are way more than 11 reasons to visit this town, here are our personal top 11. You can always visit our calendar of local events to see everything going on this summer. Enjoy!
11) The ActionTrackUSA Races
Almost every Wednesday from May through August and during the entire week of the Kutztown Fair, Action Track USA hosts a variety of mini races on the race track at the Kutztown Fairgrounds. It is something different than most of the other activities in town and a great family weeknight event. The stands definitely fill up so the races definitely won’t disappoint. As an added bonus, if you aren’t able to get to the races, we just discovered that they have a live link on Facebook to watch them from wherever you are!
10) Kutztown Kruizz
This event unfortunately went away for a bit, but when it came back, it really came back. The last Saturday in July, Main Street gets shut down as muscle cars come from all over to strut their stuff down town for the annual Kutztown Kruizz. Cars are lined up as far as the eye can see while patrons walk the street admiring the beauty of the old. Live music plays in the background and many local establishments offer dining specials or their own events to coincide with the show on the street. Once the day is over, all the cars kruizz to the park where The Fabulous Greaseband puts on a concert you will not want to miss.
9) Local Hiking and Biking
Many people may not think of hiking and biking when they think of Kutztown, but the outlying area boasts multiple back road bike trails and several hiking trails ranging from novice to expert. The Appalachian Trail is only a hop skip and a jump away from town and many hikers will actually take a break from their trail long trek to stay in Kutztown for the night. Just a little closer is what we locals call The Pinnacle. It’s about an 8-mile hike up and back to a lookout point that allows you to see a great majority of the local countryside. Many hikers will pack a picnic and enjoy the view while resting at the top before heading back down. In fact, if you’re really adventurous, we once did a sunrise hike to the the Pinnacle and got there just in time to watch the sun rise up over the countryside as we enjoyed coffee and a light breakfast. You have to start your hike pretty early in the morning, but it was definitely worth it.
8) Taste of Kutztown
Another one of our personal favorites is the annual Taste of Kutztown event. Held every year in the Kutztown Park, local food vendors, wineries, breweries, shops, and more set up in the park to showcase their very best. You can enjoy everything from bacon on a stick to the fresh smoked meats of the K’town Pub to garlic wine and more. We will also be there as a sponsor to provide you with a relaxing courtyard area to put your feet up and enjoy some refreshing flavored water in between tastings. Each year this event gets bigger and better yet tickets remain extremely affordable for such an outstanding event!
7) Local Wineries and Breweries
Did you know that within 15 minutes of the Inn there are 5 different wineries and two different breweries (more if you count the ones that do tastings at the Farmer’s Market on the weekend). And even more if you travel just 10 minutes further. This area is great for growing grapes and brewing beer as all of the local vineyards and breweries will tell you. We are quickly turning into Pennsylvania’s equivalent of Long Island or the Finger Lakes. Each winery and brewery has something different to offer, not just in their libations, but in atmosphere. Many boast outside seating, food trucks to accompany their wine tastings, live music, outdoor games, and more. Visit both the Lehigh Valley Wine Trail and Berks County Wine Trail sites to see the full list of local wineries and stop in at Saucony Creek Craft Brewery + Gastropub or the Kutztown Tavern/Golden Avalanche Brewing Company to fill your take home growler with some local brews.
6) Pop’s Malt Shoppe
Even though they are open year round, it really just wouldn’t be summer without mentioning Pop’s Malt Shoppe. This place is really great for people of all ages. Not only is the ice cream some of the best we have ever had, but your visit is complete with an authentic retro 50’s atmosphere and matching music playing in the background. It is only a few blocks from the Inn with both indoor and outdoor seating and we’re pretty sure if they had a best customer award, we would easily be in the running.
5) Our Courtyard
Sorry for the shameless self promotion, but we really do think our courtyard is reason enough to visit this town. Recently covered and painted, it can now be used no matter what the weather may be outside. While sometimes used for hosting events, there will always be at least an hour or two for you to enjoy a glass of our complimentary local wine or beer and homemade baked goods in the courtyard. It’s as if you are whisked away to a European plaza as you relax outside listening to the slowly trickling water of the fresh-water fountain. It honestly makes coming to work one of our favorite parts of the day.
4) Kutztown Folk Festival
This event likely needs no explanation. The Kutztown Folk Festival has been running annually for 68 years. It is probably our town’s most well known event as people come from all over the world to experience a little bit of the Pennsylvania Dutch lifestyle. There are vendors with items for sale that are authentic to the period. Exhibits and shows are put on all week long to give visitors a little taste of the past. Food vendors serve homemade funnel cakes, lemon drinkas, and bratwurst and the whole thing ends with one of the biggest quilt auctions known to man. It runs every year during the July 4th holiday week and brings hordes of visitors to our small PA town.
3) Train Rides
Trains are not just for children and especially not the ones in Kutztown. The Allentown and Auburn Railroad team works really hard to plan a jam packed schedule of train ride events that run all summer long from Kutztown to Topton and back. You can enjoy wine and cupcake pairing rides, beer tasting rides, Firefly rides that stop at a grove for passengers to enjoy local ice cream from Pop’s while the fireflies decorate the surrounding fields, and more. They have events for children, events for adults, and you can even rent your own train to do a private event. In fact, we did just that this April for our wedding. It really is one of the most unique reasons to visit this town and definitely belongs in the top 3!
2) Kutztown Day
This event has been going on as long as we can remember and is one of the best family friendly events we have all year round. Even though it doesn’t coincide with the incorporation of the town (that was in March), the town decided to move the celebration to the summer so we could fully enjoy the best season this town has to offer! Kutztown Day is held annually on the first Sunday in August and the committee does a great job of planning a fun filled day of events for kids and families while showcasing some of the hidden talents in this town. Recently, they added a 6-hole disc golf course sure to entertain dolfers of all experience levels. And this year, they’ve even added a model airplane show to take place on the park’s baseball field. This event only gets better every year and never disappoints when the sun goes down and the fireworks display shoots off into the sky to signal the end of the event.
1) Dinner on Main
Maybe this event holds a special place in our heart because we were on the original committee when the event debuted during the 2015 Kutztown Bicentennial. Maybe it just continues to be a spectacular event. Whatever the reason may be, Dinner on Main, is hands down our favorite reason to visit Kutztown in the summer. The event boasts multiple local food vendors set up along the 200 block of Main Street in August. The street is closed down as locals and visitors walk the street to see what special items each vendor is offering before deciding on one to purchase for dinner. Then attendees can sit at one of the tables with a drink and food as they are entertained by local musicians and enjoy great conversation with neighbors and strangers. The whole town comes out for this one and the food vendors NEVER disappoint. This will be our first year as an attendee and not a committee member and we are anxious to experience it completely from the other side.