German Festival celebrates 200th anniversary of Royer House

September 08, 2012|By ROXANN MILLER |
  • Nancy Kakuk of Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., watches Darcy Maier of Orrtanna, Pa., and Carolyn Stratton of Chambersburg, Pa., spin wool into yarn Saturday at the Pennsylvania German Festival at Renfrew Museum and Park in Waynesboro, Pa.
By Roxann Miller

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — It was a step into the past Saturday for hundreds who attended the Pennsylvania German Festival at Renfrew Museum and Park.

The celebration to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Royer House — the cornerstone of the museum and park — included demonstrations, music and food.

Mary and Edward Green of New Oxford, Pa., were two of the many people who stood in line to tour the 1812 stone house.

“We are just analyzing every bit and piece of everything,” Mary Green said.

“It’s nice to go back to that craftsmanship because we’ve lost that,” Edward Green said. “It’s good to be reminded of it because today, we’re in such a world of facade that it’s nice to get back to real things.”

The Royer House was built in 1812 by Daniel Royer. It became a museum and park in 1975, when Emma Nicodemus specified in her will that the house and 107 acres be made into a public museum and parkland.

Shannon Royer, a descendant of Daniel Royer and a Pennsylvania deputy secretary of state, made opening remarks at the festival.

“It’s really special to be here today right next to the house where our great-great-great-great-grandfather lived,” said Shannon Royer, who was born and raised in Waynesboro. “There’s no place in Pennsylvania quite like this, and Renfrew Museum and Park certainly is the jewel in that crown of Waynesboro.”

After reminiscing about growing up in Waynesboro, Royer read a proclamation from Carol Aichele, the secretary of the commonwealth.

“I am honored to recognize Renfrew’s commitment to preserving the historical landmark and serving all Pennsylvanians as a cultural center,” he said.

“This is wonderful. We always wanted to present these old crafts to the community and this is a perfect opportunity,” said Bonnie Iseminger, administrator of Renfrew Museum and Park.

Assembling artisans and including demonstrations was important to Iseminger and event organizers.

“I think that people need to know that a blacksmith created the iron, and that the people would butcher their own animals on the farm,” Iseminger said. “They didn’t go to the grocery (store). They went to butcher and did this for themselves.”

Attendance figures were not available at press time, but organizers hoped that 1,000 people would attend Saturday’s event.

Iseminger would like to hold the festival on an annual basis.

“You really don’t find houses that are 200 years old inside of a 107-acre park,” she said. “You may find a museum, but this is unique.”

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