Early this morning I dragged my tired body out of bed and went up town Berlin to see a bunch of ladies in pajamas. Really! I took some pics, eavesdropped on some ladies conversations, and talked with some of them. It’s quite a fun event for the ladies and they come from all over the place. The names of the four ladies in this photo are Vicki (the princess), Cathy (the queen), Wanda, and Phyllis. As you can see from their pajamas, they take this thing pretty seriously. According to Cathy they are all in-laws and outlaws. Cathy is from Port Clinton, Ohio and the others are from Cincinnati, Ohio. Berlin is sort of centrally located for them and this event is an annual habit for them. They hit the ground running on Thursday and don’t stop until they leave for home on Sunday. They even bring their sewing machines with them and do a “project” each year while they are here. Last year they made purses; this year they are making pillowcase dresses for their granddaughters and I’d bet that they’re pretty good at spoiling those sweet granddaughters. On Sunday they’ll descend upon the Millersburg antique stores before heading home.
Last year it was quite warm and pleasant at the annual Berlin Ohio Christmas Nativity Parade. This year was a different story. On Friday it was cloudy and cold all day. In the evening the wind picked up and it started snowing about the time the parade started. Brrrrrrr. Despite the weather, the streets were packed with people watching the parade. However most of the crowd did not hang around for the music on the square, which was held immediately after the parade. We got to see a bit of the parade from the warm and cozy atmosphere of the Boyd and Wurthman Restaurant located in downtown Berlin, Ohio. For story and pics of throngs of people at last year’s parade see: Berlin Christmas Nativity Parade 2011.
We had a great time on Friday and Saturday of this week at the 60th annual Ohio Swiss Festival in Sugarcreek, Ohio, also know as the “Little Switzerland of Ohio”. Last year at the festival it was cold and rainy almost the whole time from Thursday thru Saturday. Fortunately this year Friday and Saturday, the two biggest days of the festival, the weather was about as good as you could ask for. It was a whirlwind weekend for us, Friday afternoon and evening at the Swiss Festival, Saturday morning and afternoon at a wedding in Pittsburg, Saturday evening at the Swiss Festival, and a trip to Hartville on Sunday. The Swiss Festival is one of our favorite festivals of the year in Amish country. This year a new “food” addition to the festival was the Amish Country Donuts stand. Wanda says she’s not a “donut person” but she sure likes these. I think she advertised the Amish donuts to everybody we ran into. I must say we both agree that the are “the best donuts we have ever eaten”. By the looks of the long lines at the donut stand, I think a lot of people agree. Someone told us they waited for twenty minutes in the line just to get a donut. Enough said about the donuts! [Read more…]
Hundreds of people lined the streets on Saturday to watch the annual Berlin Harvest Festival Parade. It was quite rainy in the morning when vendors were setting up for the Harvest Festival Rib Cook-off, but by mid-afternoon it was blue skies and lots of sunshine, perfect weather [Read more…]
This morning things weren’t looking too bright in Berlin, Ohio as rib cook-off vendors setup and began grilling ribs for the sixth annual Berlin Harvest Festival and Rib Cook-Off. Fortunately as the day progressed the weather co-operated and a perfectly miserable day turned into a very pleasant one. This year’s rib cook-off vendors included Farmstead Restaurant, Cindy’s Diner, Boyd & Wurthmann Restaurant, Coalway LLC, 2 Guys and a Grill, [Read more…]
Conversations with John Schmid. Recently I asked Kathy Marner owner of Ferngully Creek Cabins if she would write something about local Amish country singing legend and founder of Common Ground Ministries, John Schmid. Here is her story:
The four of us walked into the conference room of a nearby nursing home and straight into an Amish gathering, friends and family of the elderly lady we were there to visit. When John Schmid had invited my husband and me to join him and his wife, Lydia, in singing a few songs for “a shut-in” we said, sure, why not. It was typical John: turn an evening out into a chance to drop in on someone who would be delighted he did so.
I learned something about John that night. He has the rare ability to hurdle the cultural and religious boundaries separating the closed Amish circles from the world [Read more…]
Unser Leit…The Story of the Amish. Volumes I and II. By Leroy Beachy. Millersburg, Oh: Goodly Heritage Books, 2011.
In April 2011, I published a short article about Leroy Beachy’s just released book, Unser Leit. Gerald J. Mast, a Professor of Communication at Bluffton University, recently wrote an excellent, detailed review of Leroy’s book, which I have published here. Gerald is the author of Go to Church, Change the World: Christian Community as Calling. He grew up in Holmes County Ohio and received degrees from Malone University and the University of Pittsburgh.
This review by Gerald first appeared in The Mennonite Quarterly Review 86 (April, 2012), 265-269 and is reprinted here with permission. This MQR journal was founded by Harold S. Bender and the Mennonite Historical Society and has been published continually since 1927. The website for the journal is: www.goshen.edu/mqr
This two-volume history of the Amish by Leroy Beachy, a genealogist from Holmes County, Ohio is a remarkable achievement, generously fulfilling a vision for family history as church history described by Ernst Correll in the January 1928 issue of this journal. Correll called for genealogical research that goes beyond names and dates to recall the “immediate setting of the generations in their cultural backgrounds.” Correll believed that “Mennonite families were the crux and core of the history of the Mennonite Church,” a view clearly shared by Leroy Beachy. In Unser Leit…The Story of the Amish, Beachy provides an account of Amish families that places their traumas and triumphs at the center of Amish-Mennonite history. In so doing, Beachy’s work contributes significantly to Amish and Anabaptist studies in at least five distinctive ways, although some of these contributions will no doubt be contested.
Yesterday was a gorgeous day in Berlin, Ohio. Perfect weather for the annual Christmas in Berlin Nativity Parade which started at 5:45pm. Downtown Berlin was packed with people eager to watch the wagons, children, and animals parading down main street to the square where people lit candles and the choir sang Christmas carols including one of my favorites “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”. What a glorious night it was! [Read more…]