Weisenberg-Lowhill Historical Society fall festival
There were brief rain showers during the Weisenberg-Lowhill Historical Society Fall Festival on Sept. 8 but not enough to stop the fun.
The parking lot was crowded and, at one point, word went around food was running out but that seemed to just be a rumor as fest-goers kept going through the line.
Lester Backenstoes, who brings farm equipment to the festival, brought along a homemade tractor this year.
The tractor, which had a 1929 Model A engine, a 1929 Model AA 4-speed transmission and a 1929 Model AA rear, was put together in a welding shop in Nazareth. Backenstoes bought it from a man in Slatington.
Backenstoes said two tractors were made and the second one was in Walnutport.
There were constructed during World War II when tractors were in short supply.
The tractors were a combination of old car and truck parts for use in victory gardens.
Charlie Shaw discussed bull bending where a heavy board is pulled across wood which makes a loud screeching sound following a wedding.
The bride and groom then have their first dance in a pig feed trough.
Debbie Zvanut and the Lehigh Valley Basket Weavers were helping children and adults make woven baskets.
Zvanut was happy there was a boy making a basket because it is usually all girls. Six-inch wooden circles were ready for people to paint their own barn stars (hex signs).
A fishing game and pumpkin painting were also available.
Most people paint their pumpkin and then leave it at the stand till they are ready to go home.
Only a few forget to go back and take their pumpkin, said Nancy Krill who was in charge of that stand.
“It’s lots of fun,” she said.
Y Knot Alpacas was selling felted soap with alpaca fiber in the soap.
The Whitehall Historical Society had a display of old toys: Tinker Toys, a caboose, cars, books, plastic bricks.
Robert Miller discussed when he was a child and there was an old house that had not been lived in for 20 or 30 years.
Miller and 10 of his friends asked permission and were allowed to go into the house. With the house now in use by the children, things stopped disappearing or so the story goes.
Other toys were found in his Aunt Eva’s house. She worked as a seamstress at Zollingers and he has her 10 year pins.
The Erector Set box had wording stating it was the first set with a whistle. He had paper cutouts to make Lionel trains. His uncle helped him put one together.
A quilt as first prize and an afghan and pillows for second prize in a Christmas raffle were on display. The winning ticket will be drawn Dec. 8 at the cookie sale.
There were shelves of old toys in one room since that was the theme of the festival. They had been gathered from society members.
Deb Zettlemoyer was working on a computer in the Bittner family display. The Bittner family was the second theme.
Zettlemoyer Sebastian Werlein was the first ancestor of the Bittner family to come to the Colonies in 1753.
Michael Bittner followed, landing at Philadelphia in 1764.
Four generations later, they realized the men’s wives were sisters.
Michael and his wife, Clara, had a son, Andreas, from whom most of the Bittner family was descended.
They came to Philadelphia but moved on to Weisenberg Township.
Initially they were farmers but branched out into other occupations. There was a Bittner House in Slatington across the street from Boyer’s Hardware.
Daniel Bittner is credited with opening the first general store. He gained experience and went on to Allentown.
In 1930, the Rev. Jacob Bittner wrote a book on the family history titled the “Werley Families.”
Michael Bittner’s widow, Clara, married Sylvester Holben for whom the road, along which the historical society is located, is named.
Donald Breininger said through marriages many of the Werley and Bittner names were lost and the latest reunion of the family had few people still with those names and family members have spread across the country
Outside, people enjoyed the music of the Rehrig Brothers, who took a break from their music so the watermelon-eating contest, which is held in front of the stage, could be held before it rained.