Berks County, PA is rich in heritage and history, as well as agriculture and folk tradition, and we know how to have fun too!
Although the ongoing global pandemic has put a bit of a strain on our usual community operations over the last year, we’re still determined to keep our local festivals alive and well, whether that means moving the event to a virtual setting, or incorporating social distancing protocols.
Courtesy of Pennsylvania’s Americana Region, here are five local Berks County festivals you won’t want to miss this year.
World War II Weekend – Reading, PA
Hosted by the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum in Reading, PA, World War II weekend is hosted each and every year over the first full weekend in June. This year, the comprehensive and immersive wartime festival will celebrate its 30th annual edition of the event.
Each year, historic warbirds take to the skies above the Reading Regional Airport to celebrate the awesome aviation technology of a bygone era. The largest event of its kind, the weekend-long festival features live history re-enactors, vintage WWII aircraft and military vehicle exhibits, and period artifacts that serve to educate visitors on the fascinating and gripping trials and tribulations of the Second World War.
This year, the 30th annual World War II Weekend will take place from June 4th-6th. Tickets are on sale now!
Kutztown Folk Festival – Kutztown, PA
The Kutztown Folk Festival is one of the oldest continuously operated folklife festivals in the country, and with 71 years of celebration, it is also one of the most popular festivals in the local Berks County area.
Drawing visitors from all over the world, the nine-day event has twice been featured in National Geographic Magazine and has been called “one of the most unique festivals on the East Coast” by The Washington Post.
Through exciting musical performances, crafting displays, food service, children’s activities, and antique exhibits, the Kutztown Folk Festival entertains families from all walks of life by offering an interesting insight into the historic and fascinating traditions of the Pennsylvania Dutch lifestyle.
This year, the 2021 72nd Kutztown Folk Festival will once again be held virtually from June 26th through July 4th. The festival will focus on virtual engagement and education. Updates from many of the event’s colorful craftsmen, entertainers and long-time participants will be posted on social media throughout the week, as well as archived videos, photos, and stories from prior years. If you’re missing your favorite festival foods, try making them in your own kitchen with these fun recipes!
Berks Jazz Fest – Reading, PA
The Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest presented by Berks Arts will celebrate its 30th annual event in Reading, PA this year. Designed to inspire, engage, and unite the Berks County community together through the power of arts education, collaboration, and presentation, this event will be held from August 13th through August 22nd this year.
For nearly three decades, the Berks County Jazz Fest has hosted 10 days and nights of world-class hot and cool jazz sound performed by professional musicians like Chris Botti, The Groovemasters, Dance Hall Docs, Tom Bowes, Reggie Brown, and Buch-A-Funk.
This year, the Berks Jazz Fest will feature over 130 free and ticketed concerts for Reading, PA and Berks county residents and visitors to enjoy. Experience exceptional performances covering the entire spectrum of Jazz, Blue, and R&B this year at the 30th annual Berks Jazz Fest!
Bowers Chile Pepper Festival – Bowers, PA
The Bowers Chile Pepper Festival is held each year the weekend following Labor Day. The event is the largest chile pepper celebration of its kind anywhere in the United States. Each year, this festival plays host to an abundance of spicy-hot food, crafts, field excursions, and eating contests.
Free samples of locally-produced hot sauces, honeys, jams, popcorns, snacks and more abound, so be sure to carry your antacids with you and proceed with caution! This fun and fiery festival offers something for everyone though, so don’t be intimidated if you’re not the biggest fan of spicy food!
This year, the Bowers Chile Pepper is scheduled for September 11th and 12th, 2021, but dates, times, and events are subject to change in the wake of the ongoing global pandemic. Stay tuned for any relevant updates!
Reading Film Fest – Reading, PA
Reading Film Fest is proud to present its 7th annual independent film festival this year, which will be presented across several indoor, outdoor, and virtual online platforms. For this year’s event, the Reading Film Fest will once again offer ticket holders the option of participating either virtually or in-person.
Each year, the festival will include a selection of films from independent filmmakers from all over the world, including student films, shorts, documentaries, and feature films. Panel discussions and filmmaker Q&A sessions will also be available both online and in-person as well!
Last year, the Reading Film Fest received rave reviews for film quality, hospitality, and locations. In fact, FilmFreeway named this festival to its Top 100 Best Reviewed Film Festivals list!
All throughout Berks County, our local communities are proud to celebrate tradition and heritage in incredibly specific niches of interest. This year, go out and explore these incredible festivals, or stay inside and participate virtually! Either way, you won’t regret checking out all the festivities that Pennsylvania’s Americana Region has to offer!