By Carl Marrara
Here’s to hoping your Mother’s Day was a successful event. Now it’s time to find the best Pennsylvania-produced items for Dad, as Father’s Day — Sunday, June 19 — is fast approaching. Here are my top five gift ideas that keep things local.
1. Keep him sharp
A new knife from Case Knives, handcrafted in Bradford, PA. Made by the same skilled hands of the iconic Zippo Lighters, Case has been forging blades for more than 130 years. They boast a wide variety of pieces, be it an everyday utility knife, a hunting knife, or a culinary tool that will last generations. Similar to the Zippo lighter, each knife comes with a limited lifetime warranty. Should your piece ever need repairs, it’s done directly by the fine folks in the northern tier of PA.
2. Beer, wine and spirits
A day of brewery tours and tastings is a welcomed reprieve from dad-duty! Did you know that the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development has a listing of thirteen “beer trails” throughout the commonwealth? If beer isn’t dad’s thing, don’t worry. There are hosts of Pennsylvania-produced wineries and distilleries and there’s sure to be one near you. To discover one of PA’s 200 wineries, visit PA Wines and search by address. For spirits, the PA Distillers Guild sorts these locations by region so you can stay local.
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3. For the musician in the family
If Dad is the musician in the family, there’s no shortage of quality instruments produced in PA. The most well-known is C.F. Martin & Company guitars, headquartered in Nazareth, PA. They offer a world-class tour, but be sure to book your spot in advance. Besides guitars, C.F. Martin also carries strings, accessories, and swag that’s sure to be a hit. For those who prefer the lower end of the note registry, check out Ken Smith Basses in Perkasie, PA.
4. For the avid golfer
Make Dad the envy of his golfing partners with a new putter from Makefield Putters. A newcomer to the golf scene, this company uses an Aircraft Grade Alloy that is then CNC milled and assembled using custom-built robotics. In-house artisans anodize and laser engrave each Makefield Putter to the customer’s specifications.
5. Did someone say snacks?
No matter how you’re planning to celebrate Father’s Day, be it a cookout, a day trip, or a long weekend, be sure to pack Dad’s favorite PA-produced snacks. Julius Sturgis opened America’s first commercial pretzel factory in 1861 in Lititz, and you can tour the facility and even use the same ovens that were operational back then. Pennsylvania produces 80 percent of all the pretzels in the United States! Other regional favorite snack manufacturers include: Herr’s, Utz, Snyder’s of Hanover, Unique Snacks, Martin’s, my personal favorite Middleswarth, and many more. Did you know that there are over 56 snack food manufacturers in Pennsylvania? This ranks Pennsylvania third on the national list, just behind Texas and California — but ours are rooted in tradition and are clearly superior, having sampled my fair share.
No matter Dad’s hobbies or tastes, there’s something Pennsylvania-produced that will show him how much he’s appreciated. Enjoy the day, and thanks, Dads!
Carl A. Marrara is the Executive Director for the Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association. Founded in 1909 by Bucks County industrialist Joseph Grundy, the Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association is the nonprofit, statewide trade organization representing the manufacturing sector in Pennsylvania’s public policy process. Headquartered just steps from the state capitol in Harrisburg, PMA works to improve Pennsylvania’s ability to compete with other states for investment, jobs, and economic growth.