SUBSCRIBE NOW
As low as $49 for one year. Save 59%.
SUBSCRIBE NOW
As low as $49 for one year. Save 59%.

Father and son team makes fastnachts for fire company fundraiser

John A. Pavoncello
York Dispatch

Fastnachts are more than just a Pennsylvania Dutch tradition for Todd Howdyshell and his family. 

For generations, the family has been making the traditionally heavy, fried potato dough from "Aunt Minnie's" recipe. 

Now Howdyshell and his father, Barry, make the pre-Lenten treats as a fundraiser for the Community Fire Co. of Seven Valleys.

"We started five or six years ago," said Todd Howdyshell, EMS chief at the Tri-Community Ambulance and a volunteer at the community fire company. "We made 1,500 the first year, and then 3,000 the second. I worked 36 hours straight that year."

This year, the fire company has 1,700 fastnachts pre-ordered, and they will still have people stopping by to purchase them if any are left over. 

Barry Howdyshell sorts some of the 1,700 fastnachts ordered from the Community Fire Company of Seven Valleys, Monday, February 24, 2020.
John A. Pavoncello photo

After mixing the dough and letting it rise, the Howdyshells roll and cut it into squares. "Fastnachts are not round and do not have a hole," Todd Howdyshell said.

Today, most of the fastnacht orders at the fire company are for glazed. "When we were kids, they were plain," he said. "If you wanted powdered sugar on them, you had a bowl and you dipped them."

Father and son team Barry and Todd Howdyshell prepare some of the 1,700 fastnachts ordered from the Community Fire Company of Seven Valleys, Monday, February 24, 2020.
John A. Pavoncello photo

The Howdyshells also volunteer for bingo and a multitude of other fundraisers the volunteer fire company needs to cover its operating expenses.