Last month was Tailgating Festival at Kitchen Kettle Village in Lancaster County. Although it’s taken on many different themes and dates on the calendar, Tailgating is the oldest festival at Kitchen Kettle.
The first Tailgating Festival was called Specialty Days and it was in December 1976. It was a big open house for our local community in Intercourse, Pennsylvania. Each of the shops that were here back in 1976 had refreshments when you walked in the store, a smiling hostess and extra products that were brought in just for those two days. Obviously it had a Christmas theme when it started.
If you think about it, it may come as no surprise that weather is the single biggest reason sales drop in Kitchen Kettle – we are an outdoor venue after all. So Christmas has been a tough pull for us. Just when we get some momentum, there’s a big snow storm and guests don’t want to drive out in the country. It was the same back in 1976. So we moved Specialty Days up to November, invited the local fire company to have a chicken barbecue as a fundraiser and gave it a special theme that was suitable to late fall – one year it was a lobster steam. We changed the name to Harvest Festival in 1978 and we were off and running again.
But everyone has a Harvest Festival. So in the 1990’s we changed the name
again, this time to the 7 Sweets & Sours Festival. We featured our relishes and recipes that used our relishes and moved it up to September. A festival has never been possible in October – we’re way too busy in October for all the extra work of a festival.
7 Sweets & Sours had a long tenure. In truth though, we get bored and we need something new to keep our attention focused. So about seven years ago we decided to continue to highlight food but this time use our products in recipes people would take tailgating, give the festival a sports theme, allow employees to wear their
favorite team jerseys, set up some competitions, invite the local high school sports teams to set up a Fun Zone that would raise some money for their booster clubs and ensure a festival atmosphere.
And here we are, seven years later, still having fun tailgating. This year we had the biggest parade we’ve ever had. As usual, Grammy was the Grand Marshall. We had a Corn Hole Tournament, live music, food everywhere and more “corn creatures” decorating the Village than we’ve ever had.
Stay tuned. It seems like it might be time for a change but you never know. It is Tailgating season after all and we are having a blast.