Alan Mays

Alan Mays

Posted on 03/04/2014


Photo taken on March  4, 2014


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Fastnacht Sociable, Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, Lancaster, Pa., Feb. 16, 1904

Fastnacht Sociable, Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, Lancaster, Pa., Feb. 16, 1904
"Fastnacht Sociable, by the Altar Society, Grace Ev. Luth. Church, Lect. Room, N. Queen and James, for new church improvem't fund. Admission, refreshment, and entertainment, 10 cts. Tuesday, Feb. 16, 1904. Admit one. P.A.P."

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Although this 1904 ticket for a "Fastnacht Sociable" in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, doesn't specify what refreshments were served during this church fundraiser, its shape and the event's name suggest that "fastnachts"--a type of fried doughnut--were on the menu (fastnachts, however, aren't necessarily round in shape and may not have a hole in the middle).

As Wikipedia explains, "Fastnacht Day, is an annual Pennsylvania Dutch celebration that falls on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday....Traditionally, fastnachts are made to use up the lard, sugar, butter, eggs and other rich foods in a house before the austere diet of Lent begins."

Fastnacht Day--which fell on Tuesday, March 4, in 2014--continues to be observed in central Pennsylvania, and a number of Catholic and Protestant churches in the area each make as many as 100,000 fasnachts to sell.

Some fastnacht makers use special recipes, such as one which produces an uncoated yeast-raised potato doughnut that's square in shape with no hole, while others--including many grocery and convenience stores--simply repackage their regular sugared or glazed doughnuts and label them as fastnachts.

See Sue Gleiter's article, "What Is a Fastnacht? Apparently More Than Just a Fried Doughnut," PennLive.com, March 3, 2014, for additional information on making, selling, and eating fasnachts.

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For a ticket to another church-sponsored "fastnacht social," see Annual Fastnacht Social, St. Andrew's Reformed Sunday School, Reading, Pa., Feb. 21, 1950.

Annual Fastnacht Social, St. Andrew's Reformed Sunday School, Reading, Pa., Feb. 21, 1950

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