This year’s Musikfest will present a notable first for the decades-old festival. Unfortunately, it’s not quite a good first, not even bittersweet.
In fact, there is no sweetness to be found.
From chipwich to Belgian waffle, the sweets from Bethlehem Dairy Store (more colloquially known as The Cup) will be MIA of Musikfest this year, marking the first time in festival history – unofficially – that the ice cream shop will win ‘Be among the dozens of vendors present on the festival site.
Owner Bill Burkhardt said Monday there were a number of factors that went into the decision, one that he did not take lightly. Chief among them was the tremendous effort it took to set up the Bethlehem dairy store for the festival. “It’s a huge undertaking for the dairy store to get this done,” he said. “From freezers to refrigerators to ovens, it’s like setting up another store. This problem has been exacerbated by the limited number of employees available to The Cup, a familiar problem for many restaurants and other businesses in Lehigh Valley lately.
Fortunately, the two permanent dairy locations are having particularly good years so far, said Burkhardt, which makes the idea of not attending Musikfest a little more palatable. Burkhardt, co-owner Rick Buckenmyer and two others involved in the decision according to Burkhardt all came to the conclusion that leaving the festival this year was for the best.
“It made sense not to bite this huge piece this year,” Burkhardt said.
Few food and drink vendors would be prominent enough to warrant public comment, but The Cup is not like most food and drink vendors. “We want to thank Bethlehem’s beloved institution for its many years of serving delicious treats at Musikfest,” said a spokesperson for the festival. “Of course there will still be a lot of ice cream at the festival, but we’re going to miss them.”
The Bethlehem Dairy Store at Musikfest is as much of a tradition as the Musikfest itself. The festival did not officially have The Cup as one of its vendors until a few years after its existence, but even before that, Burkhardt had a Bethlehem Dairy Store stand outside the Moravian Bookstore that sold frozen treats to the first generation of festival goers. stifling.
Back then, the store’s staple food was the Belgian waffle, which of course is still popular to this day. Years after its presence at the festival, in the early 2000s, the chipwich was born, becoming another fan favorite. We will miss them very much this year (although it should be pointed out, both goodies are of course available in the actual locations of The Cup).
Burkhardt said people walked into the store and left with a happy “see you at Musikfest”, to which the owner must have given the bad news. “Not this year,” he said. As for next year, who knows? “I think if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s ‘don’t look too far into the future’,” Burkhardt said.
For those concerned, this is the catastrophic result of a falling out between ‘Fest and The Cup, fear not. Golfers who participated in the annual Musikfest golf tournament were able to celebrate their performance on the greens with a selection from some of the festival’s popular vendors. Among them? Frozen treats from the Bethlehem Dairy Store, Burkhardt said.
Even in a year that The Cup won’t be available on the festival grounds during the festival, hell will freeze before he’s involved in some way.
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Connor Lagore can be reached at [email protected].