Kuchen Up a Comeback in Delmont
Delmont is celebrating its 19th annual Kuchen Festival and Harvest Festival this weekend. Though the town was nearly destroyed by a tornado just four months ago, the large turnout, sunny mood and smell of fresh kuchen at the festival all appear to be signs of a community has pulled together to synchronized sprint towards a fast, full recovery.
Festival organizer and kuchen authority Earla Strid said the secret to making good kuchen is in the dough. “If you know how to work with dough, you’ll be able to make kuchen,” says Strid. The pastry was brought to Delmont by ethnic Germans emigrating from Russia and the tradition has been passed on for generations.
A few months ago, Earla wasn’t sure the fest would go on this year. She and her husband, and fellow organizer, Dick, worked all summer at the volunteer distribution center set up in town after the tornado. Many generous donations came in through that center, helping get people who had lost their into new homes.
While the wreckage has all been cleared away, the town has downsized even as it recovered.
Some of the people who lost their homes have now moved to neighboring towns, including nearby Tripp. “Delmont only had three empty house or apartments,” said Strid, “and those were filled right away. Otherwise more people might have stayed. Some people moved to Tripp, where their kids go to school, so it will be a lot easier for them to get to their activities.” Fortunately, Tripp is not a long drive for people visiting family or going to the Festival.
Three new houses are in construction for people who want to stay in Delmont, as well as a new fire hall. There are plans to begin construction soon on a new parsonage, then church, to replace the Zion Lutheran Church destroyed by the tornado.
If you saw Delmont in May, you might be pleasantly, if mildly, surprised by how far it has come along. If you do so this weekend, buying a kuchen to help with the comeback is a win-win.