LITITZ PA – Julius Sturgis, a commercial baker in the Lancaster County borough of Lititz who previously produced bread for his living, in 1861 opened America’s first commercial pretzel bakery. One hundred and fifty-four years after Sturgis’ customers took their first crunchy bites of his wares, Lititz residents and thousands of visitors again celebrated that heritage.
The borough Kiwanis Club held its fourth annual Pretzel Fest on Saturday (May 2, 2015) along lengthy East Main Street (PA Route 772) through downtown Lititz, and across several additional blocks of intersecting Broad Street (PA Route 501). There were games and musical entertainment and local tours, but the prime attractions were pretzels in all their many and varied forms.
Soft and doughy. Hard and tooth-jarring. Sugared, soured, and sauced (or not). Thick, thin, straight, or twisted. Tiny enough to fit on your pinky like a ring, or huge enough to pull through a bull’s nose. Ticketed visitors could sample them all, stopping into almost a dozen local merchants to try sweet, salty and savory creations like the “Inside-Out Chocolate Pretzel with Caramel Sauce” and “Seven-Layer Pretzel Coconut Bars.”
Those who didn’t care much for pretzels weren’t disappointed, though. The day was bright with sunshine, fluffy white clouds in a light blue sky, and a high of 72 degrees. Downtown was packed not only with pretzel perfectionists but diners and drinkers at an abundance of sidewalk tables, bargain hunters, selfie photographers, hand-holding couples, and at least one family that preferred ice cream as its treat of the day.
Photos by Joe Zlomek for The Post Publications LLC
Note: Post Managing Editor Joe Zlomek is a TripAdvisor.com senior contributor who ranks among the top 1-percent of that travel website’s most-read reviewers of destinations and facilities. Read other articles in this series.