Monday, June 6, 2016

6 Things I Love about Pennsylvania

1. The state flower is the mountain laurel, and the state insect is the firefly (I haven't seen the fireflies yet, but I'll keep watching). Regional foods include cheesesteak, stromboli, and hoagie sandwiches; soft pretzels; Italian water ice (kind of like a soft sorbet); Irish potato candy; scrapple (a kind of fried mush made from pork scraps); and Tastycake.

2. Approximately 75% of the state's population was born in Pennsylvania.

3. Pennsylvania German is the first language for Old Order Amish and Old Order Mennonite people, especially in the Lancaster County area.

4. Pennsylvania, along with Rhode Island, had the most secure religious freedom of all the American colonies, leading to great religious diversity among the people of the state. Although much of the historic character of Pennsylvania is rooted in Quaker ideology, practicing Quakers are now a small minority in the state.

5. Pennsylvania began offering a tax credit for film productions in 2004, stimulating the state's film industry. Much of the 1993 movie Gettysburg was, not surprisingly, filmed in and around Gettysburg National Military Park.

6. Among the state's many agricultural products, mushrooms rank first, followed by apples, then Christmas trees and laying chickens. Pennsylvania leads the nation in the production of pretzels and potato chips, and the U.S. chocolate industry is centered in Hershey, with Godiva, Mars, and Wilbur chocolate companies nearby.