The term Fancy Dutch or Gay Dutch refers to the Pennsylvania Germans who do not belong to the Anabaptist churches. They, unlike the Amish, Dunkards and the Mennonites, did not wear plain clothing, nor did they refuse to fight in wars. Many popularly-associated characteristics of Pennsylvania Dutch culture, including spielwerk, hex signs, and other aspects of Pennsylvania Dutch art, music, and folklore, are derived from the Fancy Dutch. The tourism industry and mainstream media often erroneously attribute such contributions to the more conservative Plain Dutch, though they would reject these aspects of their more worldly Fancy counterparts.
The Fancy Dutch far outnumbered the Plain groups among the Pennsylvania Dutch. Today however, most Pennsylvania German speakers are members of Plain groups, the Fancy Dutch having been mostly assimilated into the larger culture of the United States. While the Plain Dutch regions centered around Holmes County, Ohio and Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the Fancy Dutch lived in the countryside around Reading, Allentown, York and Lebanon.
- David W. Kriebel (2007). Powwowing Among the Pennsylvania Dutch: A Traditional Medical Practice in the Modern World. Penn State Press. ISBN 978-0-271-03213-9. Retrieved 1 August 2013.