Kutztown Folk Festival Liars’ Contests

Since about 2005, we have held an annual Liars Contest at the Kutztown Folk Festival. These Liars Contests are held in Pennsylvania Dutch (Deitsch) followed by an English translation. By 2015 or so, they became popular enough so that we held two every year.

Liars Contests are popular expressive forms in American culture. They derive form American humor and story-telling which use exaggeration and over-statement, perhaps deriving from all the new and surprising experiences on the frontiers. Tall Tale and Liars Contest can be found in America’s newspapers going back at least to the early 1800s. Their popularity seemed to rise in the late 19th century.

Pennsylvania Germans started holding their own Deitsch Liars’ contests in the middle of the 20th Century. They seemed to have some popularity in the 1950s into the early 1960s and then became less frequent.

Contestants were told that they had about 20 minutes for their story in English and Deitsch.

For an example see:

Breininger, Donald. “En Lieg beim Donnie Breininger.” Transcribed and translated by Ron Treichler. Der Reggeboge 39, nos. 1/2 (2005): 65–68.

For a discussion about tall tales in American culture see:

Blair, Walter, and Hamlin Lewis Hill. America’s Humor: From Poor Richard to Doonesbury. New York: Oxford University Press, 1978.

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Submissions from 2019

Deitsch Liars Contest #2 2019 July 5, Dave Adam, Kevin Sterner, Patrick Donmoyer, Don Breininger, Jean Adam, and Dave Adam

Deitsch Liars Contest #1 2019 June 30, Mary Laub, Kevin Sterner, and Dave Adam

Submissions from 2018

Deitsch Liars Contest #2 2018 July 7, Richard Savidge, Dave Adam, Don Breininger, and Kevin Sterner

Deitsch Liars Contest #1 July 5 2018, Kevin Sterner, Mary Laub, Dave Adam, Don Breininger, and Patrick Donmoyer

Submissions from 2017

Deitsch Liars Contest #2 July 7 2017, Kevin Sterner, Patrick Donmoyer, Don Breininger, and Dave Adam

Deitsch Liars Contest #1 July 2 2017, Richard Savidge, Kevin Sterner, Patrick Donmoyer, Dave Adam, and Don Breininger

Submissions from 2016

Deitsch Liars Contest 2016 #2 July 9, Dave Adam and Kevin Sterner

Deitsch Liars Contest #1 July 6 2016, Richard Savidge, Dave Adam, Patrick Donmoyer, Don Breininger, and Robert Kline

Submissions from 2015

Deitsch Liars Contest #2 July 3 2015, Richard Savidge, Don Breininger, Patrick Donmoyer, and Dave Adam

Deitsch Liars Contest #1 June 28 2015, Richard Savidge, Patrick Donmoyer, Don Breininger, Dave Adam, and Kevin Sterner

Submissions from 2014

Deitsch Liars Contest 2014, Richard Savidge, Dave Adam, and Patrick Donmoyer

Submissions from 2013

Deitsch Liars Contest 2013, Richard Savidge, Don Breininger, and Adam

Submissions from 2012

Deitsch Liars Contest2 2012, Patrick Donmoyer, Richard Savidge, and Lee Haas

Deitsch Liars Contest1 2012, Patrick Donmoyer, Richard Savidge, Dave Adam, and Lee Haas

Submissions from 2011

Deitsch Liars Contest 2011, Don Breininger, Dave Adam, Richard Savidge, and Lee Haas

Submissions from 2010

Deitsch Liars Contest 2010, Richard Savidge, Dave Adam, Lee Haas, and Don Breininger

Submissions from 2009

Deitsch Liars Contest 2009, Lee Haas, Richard Savidge, and Paul Kunkel

Submissions from 2007

Deitsch Liars Contest 2007, Don Breininger, Lee Haas, Paul Kunkel, and Leroy Brown

Submissions from 2006

Deitsch Liars Contest 2006, Don Breininger, Lee Haas, and Paul Kunkel