York Town Square

Part of the USAToday Network

The Pennsylvania Dutch hope you dance, following Hans Herr House homecoming

The 1719 Herr House is the oldest building in Lancaster County, and the oldest Mennonite meeting house in North America. It is part of a large celebration in that county this year, the 300th anniversary of permanent European settlement by Swiss-German Mennonites in the Willow Street area of Lancaster County. The Hans Herr House was built in that era. In the early 1700s, Lancaster County’s history was York County’s history. York County withdrew from its older sister in 1749. Also of interest: What is the Pennsylvania German (Pennsylfaanisch Deitsch) dialect all about? and Classes offer rare op to learn Pennsylvania Dutch and All Pennsylvania Dutch posts from the start.

The note attached to a news release from the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society seemed routine enough.
“This release is about an additional event being held at the 1719 Herr House on the same day as the Herr Family Homecoming … ,” LMHS marketing assistant Lowell Brown wrote.
“Besides being a fun event for families and youth groups, it is, to my knowledge, the first time an organization affiliated with Lancaster Mennonite Conference has sponsored a dance.”
A square dance, that is.
“Traditionally, many North American Mennonite groups have frowned on dancing as a “worldly” distraction from faith. However, outside of a religious context, many young Mennonites enjoy dancing,” the release states… .

Interesting, history still being made on a 300th anniversary.
An edited and excerpted release follows:

The 1719 Hans Herr House in Willow Street, Pa., will host an evening of square and line dancing “under the stars” on Saturday, July 17 from 8 to 10 p.m.
The event will immediately follow the Herr Family Homecoming celebration, a “family reunion for everyone”, to be held from 3 to 8 p.m. earlier that day.
The caller for the dance will be David Kreiter of Lititz.
“He’s really old-school; he’s really good,” said Becky Gochnauer, director of the 1719 Herr House.
“He spends a bunch of time teaching you how to do things and then you put them all together in a dance.”
The dancing will take place in front of the visitors’ center on the 1719 Herr House grounds. Light refreshments will be provided by Herr Foods.
“This is fellowship and fun perfect for groups of friends, youth groups, couples and singles,” she said. “Come early and look around the grounds.”
The 1719 Herr House is located at 1849 Hans Herr Drive in Willow Street. Parking is provided.
Admission is $5. For more information, and to save your spot on the dance floor, call the Hans Herr House at (717) 464-4438.

Also of interest:
York County, Pa.’s 150th birthday party would have astonished founding settlers.
Is the 10th anniversary of York County’s 250th anniversary significant?.