CROGHAN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Saturday was the 29th annual gathering of Mennonites from all over the area. Zwanzigstein Fest.
“We’re celebrating the life of the early Mennonite and Amish settlers that came over here in the 1830s,” said Bernadine Schwartzentruber, chairperson of the Mennonite Heritage Farm. "The way they lived and how they raised their food and fiber and their general way of life.
And that way of life was and still is quite do-it-yourself.
“We live very frugal lives, we use what we can from the land, and we live very simply. I think that seems to be the traits of our forefathers and we continue to strive to do that today,” said SOT Rosanna Moser, Zwanzigstein Fest curator. “We have a wash basin out here where children are scrubbing clothes the old fashioned way to make them clean.”
Old tools, equipment and toys were out for festival-goers to play with.
There were lessons on how to make fresh bread, as well as how to make clothing, soaps, and baskets.
But even more important than the food, crafts and wagon rides is remembering the Mennonites who started it all, here in Lewis County.
“This is to recognize all of the 20 families that came over from Alsace Lorraine between 1833 and 1852,” Moser said.
They do that by sharing their stories, celebrating their lifestyle and practicing their values.