Annual Award of Merit
Betty Krauss Receives Annual Merit Award
At the April meeting the Goschenhoppen Historians Annual Award of Merit was presented to Betty Krauss who may well be better known to the membership in her alter persona of Alice The Wanderer than as herself. In a brief ceremony at the beginning of the meeting Betty was presented with a framed fractur certificate recognizing her ”many contributions to the preservation of Folk Culture and the History of the Goschenhoppen region.” Betty was accompanied at the ceremony by her husband Charles, daughter Nancy, and sons-in-law Tom Dunn and Pete Menio. Following the presentation Betty shared numerous anecdotes about Alice Reiner and her many years of portraying her at the Folk Festival and to varied audiences.
Betty Krauss came into the role of Alice Reiner or Alice the Wanderer out of necessity when the Folk Festival found itself without an Alice, a staple of the annual event. Already an accomplished actress with local theatre groups Betty had also performed in the Goschenhoppen Historian’s first, and only, stage production: “Um Die Schicta Menscha Fonga” or, The Traveling Detective. Ably directed by Harold Bean, Director of The Pumpernickel Players, a dialect-performing group well known throughout southeastern Pennsylvania, Betty joined with other Historians’ members to put on two standing room-only sell-outs on the Redmens’ Hall stage. Several of those who participated are no longer with us but Betty, Norm Hoffman, and our own Dutch ingénue Joanne Kintner are still active members of the Historians.
Betty was more than willing to take on the role of Alice as she remembered, as a young girl, seeing Alice at her Grandparents farm. She studied old newspaper accounts and spoke with older members of the community who remembered Alice to get a feel for her mannerisms, her clothing and her manner of speech. Over the many years she portrayed Alice she constantly strived to present her in an accurate manner, not as a caricature of a bedeviled soul. Her understanding and compassion for Alice always stood out.
Beyond her portrayal of Alice at the annual Folk Festival Betty has taken Alice to countless speaking engagements at churches, schools, service clubs, and historic society meetings. At each of these presentations Betty has been the face and the voice of the Goschenhoppen Historians and our goal of keeping the unique past of the Goschenhoppen region alive and well. For all this and the many years she has shared her love of the Pennsylvania Dutch culture with everyone with whom she has come in contact the Goschenhoppen Historians presented the Award of Merit for the year 2012 to Mrs. Betty Krauss.
– Bill Daley