Allentown is still trying to live down Billy Joel's mistake. Joel's '80s hit "Allentown" lamented a dying steel mill town, but the Piano Man had it wrong. Nearby Bethlehem was the state steel capital, and Allentown has never been a steel town. Instead, the quiet area set in Lehigh River Valley is a mixture of manufacturing and agriculture, with Mack Truck, Binney & Smith (Crayola Crayons) and Dixie Cup making their homes amongst fields of corn and grazing cattle.
Transplanted Germans known locally as "Pennsylvania Dutch" have made an unmistakable impact on Allentown culture. Locals point out the colorful circles of traditional German "hex" signs hung on weathered old barns and houses, and almost any Allentonian can do a passable polka or turn out a funnel cake dusted with powdered sugar.
Allentown enjoys a fair amount of fests. The most popular is Musikfest, a nine-day spring revelry where scores of bands play music ranging from traditional German polkas to modern rock. Hundreds gather to dance the traditional Chicken Dance, an arm-flapping, hip-swiveling celebration of silliness.