The Fries Rebellion of 1798-99 is little known today, but the Lower Macungie Township Historical Society (LMTHS) is planning to change that.
The society has begun preliminary production work on a short film in anticipation of America250 celebrations nationwide in 2026. The society has contracted with production companies In the Wee hours and ubifire Video Productions to produce a film about the violent insurrection that occurred in the greater Lehigh Valley region between 1798 and 1799.
A short “teaser” to promote the film has been produced and will be premiered during the Kickoff Tour: McCoole’s at the Red Lion Inn in Quakertown, Aug. 7, Rising River Brewing Aug. 8, and Two Rivers Brewing Co. in Easton, Aug. 9, from 6-9 p.m. The public is invited to drop in during those hours to see the three-minute teaser and to meet cast and crew members. A 30-day Indiegogo fundraising campaign to raise $25,000 will also be launched on Aug. 7.
The Fries Rebellion was a revolt against the first federal tax on property since the United States was created. Pennsylvania German farmers throughout a large part of Southeastern Pennsylvania strongly opposed the federal government taxing them because the money was to be used to create a standing army and increase naval power in anticipation of war with France. The Alien and Sedition Acts adopted in 1798 increased their anger with the government.
Scriptwriter and president of the LMTHS Sarajane Williams said, “I tried to recreate the tempestuous era of the citizens tax revolt in a way that makes it interesting for today’s school students.”
The teaser will be the official opening of the campaign to raise funds needed for the final production. In addition to serving as a celebration piece, the final film will be made available to schools, museums, historical societies, and other interested groups as an educational experience. It will show how the Lehigh Valley region played a role in the development of the nation.
In the Wee hours, with offices in Philadelphia and Los Angeles, is led by filmmaker Dan Hertzog, whose father Jim is a Lehigh Valley native. Local support is supplied by ubiFire Video Productions of Allentown, run by filmmaker Craig Friebolin.
To learn more about the production, visit www.FriesMovie.com.