Pretzel Fest Downtown event celebrates edible icon

By on April 25, 2012

Settled in 1756, Lititz is the home of the first commercial pretzel bakery in North America. The origins of the pretzel date back to early European history. Early German settlers brought their recipes with them to the "colonies," specifically to a new settlement in Warwick Township, Pennsylvania. In 1756 the new settlement was named Lititz.

On April 28, Lititz will celebrate its edible icon with the first inaugural Pretzel Fest, downtown from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Downtown parking will be free the day of the event, which will be held rain or shine.

Riding on the success of the Chocolate Walk held each year in October, members of the Kiwanis Club of the Lititz Area decided to create a similar event to celebrate the pretzel.

Like the Chocolate Walk, the Pretzel Fest will have a recommended route that attendees can travel around town that includes all the tasting and entertainment stops.

The epicenter of Pretzel Fest is the old Rudy Building, 27 E. Main St. Visitors will check in and receive a ticket and ballot for the chef’s competition. Local chefs, including Mike Greco from Greco’s Italian Ice and Tim Whitmyer from Scooter’s, will vie for the award of best use of pretzels in a recipe. Visitors will sample and vote for their favorite. More chefs are joining the competition each day.

While deciding between the pretzel inspired creations, attendees will be entertained by German dancers from Lancaster Liederkranz at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Performers from EPAC will take the stage performing numbers from their latest production, "Xanadu" at noon.

Visitors can purchase cards and play pretzel bingo all day for $1 per card. Bingo will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. and again from 2 to 4 p.m.

Even though someone could get comfortable at the bingo table, festival goers are encouraged to make their way around to other sites. Games of skill will be located in the two storefront windows of the Rudy Building; "Twisted Minute to Win It" is a pretzelized version of the challenges on NBC’s "Minute to Win It" game show.

A dunk tank will be set up outside of Think Silk, 22 E. Main Street (rear). Don’t miss an opportunity to dunk your favorite celeb. Among those in the hot seat will be mayor Ron Ottel, Lancaster County Democratic Commissioner Craig Lehman and Drew Anderson, WGAL weatherman. The booth will be open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Of course, the star of the event is the pretzel. Local proprietors will have tastings of various pretzel products within walking distance of the Rudy Building. Be sure to stop by a few — or all — of these locations to enjoy their creative pretzel fare:

Cherry Acres, 23. E. Main — Auntie Anne’s original and cinnamon sugar nuggets

Clemintine’s, 25 E. Main — chocolate covered pretzels

Aaron’s Books, 35 E. Main — fudge with pretzels, book signing

Cafe Chocolate, 40 E. Main — chocolate fountain with pretzel rod

EcoLoco, 55 E. Main — bag of pretzels

Candy*ology, 69 E. Main — pretzel cookie

Sturgis Pretzel, 219 E. Main — baked soft pretzel

Wilbur Chocolate, 48. N. Broad — chocolate covered pretzel

Savory Gourmet, 53 N. Broad — pretzels with gourmet dipping mustards

Dosie Dough, 45 S. Broad — pretzel brownie

A water station to wash it all down with will be located at Antiques & Stuff, 23 N. Broad St. (rear).

Proceeds of the event will benefit the Lititz Warwick Community Chest Food Bank. This organization provides emergency food assistance to local families in need.

Admission to Pretzel Fest is $5. Tickets can be purchased the day of the event at the old Rudy Building. For a full list of ticket selling locations, and for more details about the day, visit lititzpretzelfest.com. More PRETZEL FEST, page A7