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Disappearing Appalachian Agrarian Traditions in Central Pennsylvania


My hometown of Woodward, Pennsylvania, is a small village nestled within the Appalachians, smack dab in the midst of the state. Comparatively sequestered from the world, this tiny hamlet is, in some ways, frozen in time.

For over 100 years, like clockwork, the city has had two diehard traditions. In August, there’s the Woodward Pageant, an occasion to boost cash for the native cemetery affiliation. On the day after Thanksgiving, your entire city congregates to hand-butcher and smoke pigs for Christmas hams. Each of those celebrations revolve round loss of life, renewal, and honoring their heritage.

To the trendy eye, these group celebrations really feel like a peek right into a long-lost agrarian society, doggedly clinging to historical Teutonic traditions. It’s nonetheless very a lot a lifestyle in central Pennsylvania, nevertheless. Fall festivals yearly dot the panorama, sharing the bounty of harvest with household, neighbors, and curious company.

At these gatherings, Amish and “Englishers” usually work facet by facet, educating one another, joking, and teasing one another.

These images illustrate the group of Woodward coming collectively to feed one another, make amends for gossip, educate, and create the pure spectacle of processing meals the way in which individuals did within the centuries earlier than industrialization.

The Woodward Pageant, devoid of rides and honky-tonk, is held yearly in a secluded hole within the woods. Individuals play bingo utilizing items of dried corn as markers; you possibly can win prizes by tossing dimes into dishes or drawing numbers from an outdated lard can; proficient bakers donate their coveted confections to the cake public sale.

Butchering Day nonetheless deeply resembles 100 years in the past – the truth is, they nonetheless use the identical instruments: sausage grinders from the Nineteen Twenties, iron kettles from the Eighteen Eighties cooking down lard over open fires, a group of flashing knives and band saws hacking aside the meat. It’s fast, clear, and as humane as doable. To know instantly the place your meals comes from – the truth is, seeing it develop and thrive in entrance of you for months – is one thing misplaced in fashionable society.

These pictures had been taken at varied gatherings over the previous few years. A few of the faces have moved past the veil, buried within the very cemeteries their efforts helped to protect.

In regards to the creator: Alice Teeple is a multidisciplinary artist, author, and musician. The opinions expressed on this article are solely these of the creator. Teeple’s work has been seen in, Rolling Stone,, Empirical Nonsense, Downtown Journal, CVLT NATION, Brooklyn Paper, Broadway World, Voyage LA, and a myriad of album covers. Her pictures might be on show at Ed Varie Gallery in NYC this fall. Teeple earned a BA in Integrative Arts from Penn State College in 2005. She lives in New York Metropolis, the place she works as a contract photographer. She is a music author for Yow will discover extra of her work on her web site and Instagram.


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