Virginville festival shows 18th and 19th century farm life

Historic Dreibelbis Farm in Virginville.
Submitted Historic Dreibelbis Farm in Virginville.

Take a step back in time at the Historic Dreibelbis Farm Festival in Virginville on Saturday, Aug. 18, from 4p.m.

Nestled within the peaceful setting of Virginville sits a more than 180-acre farm that has withstood the passage of time and remains much as it was during the 1800s.

The property itself has been owned by members of the Dreibelbis family, who are Swiss German immigrants, for more than 240 years, though the brick house present on the site today replaced the original wooden structure in the 1860s. True to the familys frugal Pennsylvania German roots, the interior of the house contains original furnishings mostly from the 19th century, even though the house was in use as a residence up until the 1990s.

Mark Dreibelbis, a Hamburg resident and descendant of the original Dreibelbis settlers, purchased the farm property from a relative in the 1990s for purposes of conservation, and has worked with the Berks County Conservancy and other organizations to protect the farm from future development, preserve the historical resources of the site, and enhance the ecological value of wetlands and endangered species habitat onsite. The Dreibelbis Farm Historical Society was founded to carry out this mission and make the resources of the farm available to the public.


After many years of preservation work, the DFHS hosts the first annual Historic Dreibelbis Farm Festival, a free event held rain or shine from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This is the first of many public events to be sponsored by the DFHS, highlighting the historical, cultural, and ecological features of the farm and its lands. The festival will feature live demonstrations of 18th and 19th century life, including blacksmithing, reverse glass painting, spinning and weaving, grain threshing, butchering, butter making, and quill pen writing. Additionally, there will be an exhibit on local Native American history, hands-on historical crafts, a self-guided nature trail, build-your-own birdhouse, childrens games and hayrides. The barn and historic outbuildings will also be open to the public.

In addition to the on-going demonstrations, three programs are scheduled:

11:30 a.m. PA German Emigration: The Story of a Young German Family, Dr. Carl Constein

1p.m. Civil War First Defenders of Berks County, Dave Fox

2 p.m. PA German Folk Music and Dance, Keith Brintzenhoff

Admission to the festival is free. Food will be available for purchase and house tours will be offered for a minimal fee. For more information or to volunteer, contact Mark Dreibelbis at 610-488-7896 or

If you go:

What: Historic Dreibelbis Farm Festival

When: Saturday, Aug. 18, from 10a.m. 4p.m., Rain or shine

Where: Historic Dreibelbis Farm

356 Hard Hill Road

Hamburg, PA 19526