KUTZTOWN, Pa. — As staff members stirred up another batch of body lotion in the back of Paisley & Company in downtown Kutztown, the owner looked back on the years prior to the pandemic.

"We'd gotten to the point where our growth was pretty steadily really increasing, year after year, for three or four years, to the point where I had to hire a general manager," said Joanne Lapic, owner of Paisley & Company.

Now, it's back to the soap-making table.

"It's now 2015 again," Lapic said, "and let's try it again."

One of the things helping to push businesses like hers into the future is the return of in-person events, like those organized by the Kutztown Folk Festival.

"All the vendors," Lapic said. "You know, at the end of the day, they come across the street. They get something to eat. They want to kill some time. You know, to them it's a treat."

A farm-to-table dinner, line dancing, and a mini-version of the festival itself are all on the schedule for the days ahead.

"Everybody's had to get creative over the last year-and-a-half with the different events and different things that we would normally be doing," said Rebecca Laincz, co-owner of Firefly Bookstore, "and I think this is a great way to start bringing back the folk festival."

It may not be the full-blown folk fest many are used to, but it's a show of support for a community that continues to fight an economic battle.

"It's been challenging, but we're doing alright," Laincz said, "the main reason being we have a very supportive community who really believe in supporting the local businesses."

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