Bethlehem Press

Friday, January 24, 2020
PRESS PHOTO BY CAROLE GORNEY The Chicken Lady does the iconic Chicken Dance in a special appearance marking the 30th anniversary of Musikfest. PRESS PHOTO BY CAROLE GORNEY The Chicken Lady does the iconic Chicken Dance in a special appearance marking the 30th anniversary of Musikfest.
Flapping her wings Flapping her wings
Flapping her wings Flapping her wings
Pat Holetz, alias the Chicken Lady, enjoys a few moments with her great niece Teagan McGuinness and great nephew Patrick, both who traveled from Binghamton, N.Y., with their parents to see their aunt. The retired Chicken Lady lives in Florida, but she made a surprise one-day-only appearance at Musikfest to mark its 30th anniversary. Pat Holetz, alias the Chicken Lady, enjoys a few moments with her great niece Teagan McGuinness and great nephew Patrick, both who traveled from Binghamton, N.Y., with their parents to see their aunt. The retired Chicken Lady lives in Florida, but she made a surprise one-day-only appearance at Musikfest to mark its 30th anniversary.

Flapping her wings

Thursday, August 8, 2013 by CAROLE GORNEY Special to the Bethlehem Press in Local News

A few lucky visitors on the first day of Musikfest spotted one of the true icons of the 10-day festival - the Chicken Lady. Some even had a chance to see the elusive hen perform her world famous Chicken Dance during a set with Joe Stanky and the Cadets. Why this rare sighting? In the person of Pat Holetz, who retired in 2004, the Chicken Lady agreed to ruffle her feathers for the first time in five years in commemoration of the 30th year of Musikfest.

The Chicken Lady was created in 1984 to personify the popular Chicken Dance played often by polka bands under the tent at Festplatz. The staff was looking for someone to wear the feathery costume for that year's Halloween parade, and Holetz, who was working in the Musikfest office as a volunteer, was asked to play the part.

"Costumes weren't really my thing, but I was so dedicated to Musikfest, I agreed," Holetz said.

That one appearance eventually became 20 years of clucking and flapping and wiggling. The Chicken Lady danced her way into everyone's hearts, becoming Musikfest's official ambassador.

"Being the Chicken Lady gave me an opportunity to be a representative of our community, and also part of one of the premier music festivals in the nation," Holetz said. "I enjoyed the interaction with people so much. Words can't describe how it made me feel."

In 2004, the Chicken Lady flew the coop for Florida, but Pat Holetz has come back every year since to work in some other capacity at Musikfest, becoming one of 24 individuals who have served as volunteers at all 30 events.