It’s all about the chicken, really.

Hinkelfest, the annual autumn festival in Fredericksburg, returns this weekend with music, crafts, games and rides, and, of course, chicken.

“It’s a great social time for everybody,” Hinkelfest committee chairwoman Sue Werner told LebTown. “It’s a great time to eat a lot of chicken. Obviously, Fredericksburg is like the chicken capital of the world.”

The 32nd annual event runs Friday through Sunday, Sept. 15-17, at Fireman’s Park, 2625 S. Pine Grove St. (Route 343), Fredericksburg. The name, Hinkelfest, comes from “die hinkel,” which is Pennsylvania Dutch for “the chicken.”

Bell & Evans, a local chicken producer, is the major sponsor for the festival, Werner said.

Familiar attractions

Folks who have enjoyed Hinkelfests past won’t be disappointed this year. Asked if anything new was added to the program, Werner replied: “We added one or two new things to the menu. But we still have an awful lot of things that are the same. … We didn’t mess with our music groups because they are well liked in the community and we wanted to bring them back again.”

Music will be provided by the Mahoney Brothers from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, The Uptown Band from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, and Double Trouble doing Elvis (gospel) from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. and Elvis (secular) from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

Otherwise, look for lots of chicken-based foods, games, carnival rides, vendor shows, and more.

Check out these photos by LebTown photographer Will Trostel from the 2019 Hinkelfest.

A new feature this year will be a visit by the WellSpan WellFlight helicopter. The EC130 aircraft is a partnership between Air Methods and WellSpan Health; based in East Cocalico Township, the single-engine light helicopter carries the tools, medications, and supplies needed to provide lifesaving interventions at the scene and ICU-level care while in flight. Werner said, conditions permitting, the WellFlight helicopter will be landing at Hinkelfest at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

Werner said organizers don’t really keep track of the number of people who come to Hinkelfest each year.

“Last year, I swear, all of Fredericksburg turned out,” she said. “The weather is looking pretty favorable, so I hope they all turn out again.”

In fact, Accuweather says the Fredericksburg area can expect a nice day “with plenty of sunshine” on Friday, with highs in the mid-70s. Look for more of the same on Saturday, with possibly a few more clouds in the sky. Sunday is expected to be cloudier and hotter, with the mercury peaking close to 80 degrees, with a passing shower in the afternoon.

Get it while you can

There is no fee for admission to the festival or for parking, although rides and games are pay-as-you-go. (Sunday features a ride-all-day ticket, from noon to 4 p.m., for $15.)

Chicken dinners — chicken barbecue on Saturday, stuffed chicken breasts on Sunday — are $11 each, and Werner cautions chicken lovers not to wait.

“We do sell out, so don’t wait til the last minute,” she said. “We start selling them each day at 11 o’clock, and we sell them until they’re gone.”

They’re preparing 325 of each chicken dinner, she said. There are also other local staples, including chicken sandwiches, soup and pot pie; most a la carte food items are $5 or $6, she added.

Chicken barbecue meals will be made on the premises, Werner noted. Stuffed chicken breasts will be prepared by Heisey’s Diner, while Kauffman’s Restaurant is making the soup and Bell & Evans is providing the pot pie.

“It’s all high-quality food,” Werner said.

Hinkelfest has been a fundraiser for the Fredericksburg community since 1991. Proceeds from Hinkelfest benefit five community organizations: American Legion Auxiliary, Fredericksburg Community Association, Fredericksburg Fire Company, Lions Club, and Matthews Public Library, “and they in turn reinvest in the community,” Werner said. Last year, she said, each organization received $6,000 from the event.

“We are a low-key community event,” Werner said. “You can get some good music, some good entertainment, and of course some good chicken.”

Here is a brief rundown of the weekend schedule:

4-6 p.m., DJ Doug
5 p.m., opening ceremony
5 p.m.-close, food concessions and craft show open
5 p.m.-close, rides and games and bingo open
6 p.m.-close, petting zoo and pony rides open
6-10 p.m., Mahoney Brothers

9 a.m.-close, craft show open
11 a.m., chicken barbecue sales open (dine in or take out)
11 a.m.-6 p.m., DJ Doug
11 a.m.-close, food concessions, rides and games open
1 p.m., cooking contest begins
1 p.m., Northern Lebanon Alumni Band
2 p.m., Northern Lebanon cheerleaders
3 p.m., Jonestown Dance Studio
3-8 p.m., pony rides and petting zoo open
5 p.m.-close, bingo
6-10 p.m., The Uptown Band

9 a.m.-4 p.m., craft show open
10:30 a.m., church service, presented by the Fredericksburg Ministerium
11 a.m., stuffed chicken breast dinner sales open (dine in or take out)
11 a.m.-4 p.m., food concessions open
12-4 p.m., rides and games open
12:30-1:45 p.m., Elvis (gospel) by Double Trouble
2:30-3:30 p.m., Elvis (secular) by Double Trouble
4 p.m., event closes

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Tom has been a professional journalist for nearly four decades. In his spare time, he plays fiddle with the Irish band Fire in the Glen, and he reviews music, books and movies for Rambles.NET. He lives with his wife, Michelle, and has four children: Vinnie, Molly, Annabelle and Wolf.


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