Fasnacht Day: What is Fasnacht Day?

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What are Fasnachts and what is the fascination that Pennsylvanians have with them?

Fasnachts Bird-in-Hand BakeryIt goes back to the mid-1700’s with the influx of Swiss and German immigrants to what is now known as PA Dutch Country, who brought with them traditions from the Old World.  Lent, the six weeks between Ash Wednesday and Easter, is one such tradition that is observed.  Christians would abstain from eating lavish, fattening foods in order to prepare for Easter.

On the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, known as Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday, the wives would use up the lard and butter in the house by making fried dough treats called fasnachts (sometimes spelled fastnachts), which in German means “the night before the fast”.  In parts of Maryland they are called Kinklings and are only available in select bakeries.

Fasnacht Variety Bird-in-Hand BakerySimilar to donuts, but denser and less sweet, fasnachts can be made with yeast, potatoes or baking powder.  Fasnachts come in both square and round shapes.  Some bakeries make them with a hole, like a donut, for more even cooking and easier handling, but diehard traditionalists say that true fasnachts do not have a hole.

Although eaten plain with the original recipe, the modern sweet tooth may prefer them glazed, powdered or sugared.  You might ask if the plain fasnachts are healthier.  In a word, no.  Whether plain or topped, a fasnacht contains nearly 250 calories, 12 grams of fat and 24 grams of carbs. Once you’ve tasted one, it’s hard to stop there.  But that’s kind of the point, isn’t it?  What better way to get the fat out of the house than to eat it?  Some people believe that eating a fasnacht is good luck, and what better or tastier way to celebrate?

Fasnacht Drive-Thru Locations

Too busy to stop off at a bakery to pick up fasnachts?  Fasnachts and coffee will be available at the Fasnacht Drive-thru at two locations this year, both hosted by Bird-in-Hand Bakery & Café:

    • Fasnachts and coffee:  Tuesday, February 16th from 6 am to 9 am
      Bird-in-Hand Bakery & Café, 2715 Old Philadelphia Pike (Route 340) in Bird-in-Hand, 717-768-1501  (see map)
    • Fasnachts only:  Monday, February 15th, 3-6 pm and Tuesday, February 16th , 7 am-5 pm
      Firestone Complete Auto Care, 1530 Oregon Pike, Lancaster  (see map) (while supplies last)

Both offer curbside service without leaving your car.

Choose your favorite flavors: plain, sugared, powdered and glazed. You can also get them inside at the bakery counter at Bird-in-Hand Bakery & Café and at our stand at Root’s Country Market, or in grab-and-go packages of 6 or 12. Our scratch-made fasnachts are available February 1 through February 23. Treat Yourself!


Bird-in-Hand Bakery & Café
2715 Old Philadelphia Pike
Bird-in-Hand, PA 17505

*Post submitted by Kenn BennettBird-in-Hand Corp.

Other Lancaster County Bakeries and Bake Shops where you can find fasnachts and other freshly baked goods:


Locally Made Food Shop

Miller's Smorgasbord, 2811 Lincoln Hwy. East (US Rt. 30), Ronks (Paradise), PA 17572, 717-687-6621

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Come and sample jams, jellies, oils & vinegars...on the house!  And yes, it's all locally made right here in Amish Country...baked goods, snacks, cheese, jerky, honey, jams, jellies, pickled vegetables, coffee and more.  Don’t miss our other shops...Ruthie’s, Mt. Hope Winery, and The Quilt Shop at Miller's.   Visit Website

Shady Maple Farm Market

1324 Main Street, East Earl, PA 17519, 717-354-4981, 800-238-7363

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This farm market grew from a roadside produce stand to become an 110,000 square foot food market that has departments for every type of food and related item. Located near the famous Shady Maple Smorgasbord, this market includes a pharmacy and 160 seat cafeteria. Click our link for weekly specials.    Visit Website

Bird-in-Hand Farmers Market

2710 Old Philadelphia Pike (Rt. 340), Bird-in-Hand, PA 17505, 717-393-9674

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Don't miss a visit to one of the Dutch Country's premier shopping destinations.  Our 25 plus vendors offer a wide variety of foods, including meats and cheese, produce, canned and baked goods, snacks and so much more.  In addition we have locally made silk floral arrangements, crafts, furniture and toys.     Visit Website

Dutch Haven: “The Place That Made Shoo Fly Pie Famous”

2857A Lincoln Highway East, (U.S. Route 30), Ronks (Paradise), PA 17572, 717-687-0111

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Enjoy a free taste of America's best shoofly pie (as noted in TIME Magazine). Then treat yourself to delicious baked goods:  shoofly pies, pecan pies, fruit pies, and whoopie pies. Take home fresh jams, jellies, and canned goods, and browse one of the largest selections of local crafts and Amish products.      Visit Website

Green Dragon Farmers Market & Auction

955 North State Street,   Ephrata, PA 17522,   717-738-1117

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The Green Dragon is one of the largest farmers market in Lancaster County beloved by tourists and residents alike. Nestled in the lovely town of Ephrata, the Green Dragon covers 60-acres with over 90 vendors. Come enjoy one of Lancaster’s finest attractions. Open every Friday.     Visit Website