Frog Holler rocks Brew & Que fundraiser for 2015 Bicentennial Celebration

Photo by Roxanne Richardson Playing games at Kutztownís Second Annual Brew and Que on Aug. 3.
Photo by Roxanne Richardson Can jam at Kutztown's Brew & Que Aug. 3.

The Second Annual Brew and Que Aug. 3 offered a night of fun with brews, BBQ and music by Frog Holler while raising funds for the 2015 Bicentennial Celebration.

About 60 came out with an additional surge during Frog Holler’s performance Saturday evening at the Kutztown Rod and Gun Club.

Held by Kutztown’s 2015 Bicentennial Committee, Shena Corrado, fundraising committee, said the money raised from this year’s Brew and Que would be used to fund the next Brew and Que and then all of the money raised from that would go towards the Parade.

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“I personally think that these events give you a sense of community and it kind of helps you realize that you’re not just somebody living in a town. This is your town, these are your neighbors and you realize what the town has given you over the years so you want to give back,” said Corrado.

Corrado said next year will be better because it will be a week of events. She hopes that 2015 Brew and Que is held again at Kutztown Rod and Gun Club and to have Janelle’s Hall cater it again. There was sliced beef, barbeque Briskett, pork ribs and chicken, macaroni salad and potato salad, barbeque beans, corn-on-the-cob, and beer on tap to top it off. Music was by Frog Holler.

“We have a decent amount raised. We’re in the final stretch. It’s only a year away; people think that’s far, but it’s not,” said Corrado.

Corrado said for next year’s Brew and Que, they will try to incorporate vendors from around town to do a bicentennial product line. By helping to promote the products, the committee would hope to get a portion of the sale. The committee is also considering a vendor night to promote a featured business in return for a portion of sales from that night.

Todd Mertz, Bicentennial Committee member, said the biggest thing they made money from so far is the Bicentennial Book and some generous donations from local organizations. Brew and Que is probably the number one fundraiser they have, he said. They are also selling t-shirts. Mertz added that in early 2015 is the official day that Kutztown turns 200 years.

“I know Sandy Green is working on having various politicians come in and they’re going to do proclamations and that type of thing, which is pretty cool. What we’re really working towards is our celebration week next year for the bicentennial,” said Mertz.

The committee is getting ready to launch their sponsorships for the bicentennial parade as one of the largest events of the week as well as their biggest expense. The campaign is for local businesses and organizations not only to sponsor floats, but also to be sponsors of divisions.

According to Mertz, the last parade in 1965 was deemed one of Kutztown’s biggest events ever so their goal is to make the 2015 parade one of Kutztown’s biggest events ever. They are estimating at least $20,000 for the cost. They would like to have awards for the best decorated floats, awards for bands that participate, security, etc. Neighboring communities are invited to participate in the parade.

Kutztown Borough Council Vice President Jim Schlegel, Vietnam veteran and life-long resident of 64 years, remembered when Kutztown celebrated its 150th sesqui-centennial in 1965. He said there was a parade, beauty pageants, and if the men in town didn’t wear a beard for the day, they either had to pay a fine or be jailed. There was also a huge picnic, which featured a big ox roast held in the park.

“I’ll never forget that ox roast. That was the best ox roast I was ever at all my life,” said Schlegel. “I was a 15-year-old teenage kid and as a teenager, it was neat. We had a good time.”

Schlegel said Kutztown has seen a heck of a lot of changes in 50 years mostly due to Kutztown University’s influence. In the summer months Kutztown almost reverts back to the old days. He said there was a time when he was growing up that there were three shoe factories, the Kutztown Foundry, and two knitting mills and the only time you saw the college kids was when they came down to purchase supplies.

“There was a balance between the college and the industry in the town,” said Schlegel. “Hopefully Kutztown will see its industry again someday.”

Schlegel said the changes brought a lot of good professional people, educators, to live in Kutztown, new developments, and new technology.

“Kutztown is still a great place to live. The permanent residents are concerned for one another and their community. The borough has really good services,” said Schlegel.

Irvin Fox, a resident of Kutztown for 74 years, said life was a little easier at one time because he knew everyone.

“Kutztown is a quintessential Pennsylvania Dutch area and people are set in their ways and like what they like. It’s good to know that. Don’t ruffle the feathers,” said Scott Gardner, Kutztown, owner of Janelle’s Hall.

“Kutztown’s just, it’s so homey. Like everybody knows everybody which has its ups and downs, but for the most part it’s just this giant community that if anybody ever needs help your neighbor is not going to be afraid to help you,” said Jamie Reppert, Kempton.

Reppert said the growth in the commercial businesses coming in is killing the hometown businesses. She would like to see the local residents support these businesses more and to see more of that sense of community come back.

“Kutztown is such an amazing place. It’s so pretty. You have all these beautiful views to see and it’s nice. It’s all right out your back door,” said Reppert.

For more information about the bicentennial, go to http://www.bokutility.com/bicentennial/index.html.