An air of excitement is materializing across Switzerland County, IN, as locals and visitors are getting a glimpse of the preparations well underway. This isn’t a fly-by-night operation—within a month or two of the close of last year’s event, the groundwork began to make one of Indiana’s top festivals bigger and better.
Guests won’t be disappointed as organizers are pulling out all the corks for the 41st annual Swiss Wine Festival. Held at Paul Ogle Riverfront Park in Vevay, IN, this year’s event is Thurs., Aug. 23-Sun., Aug., 26, 2012.
“Just when you think they can’t improve on this event, another facet is added and bigger names are booked,” said Kendal Miller, public relations spokesperson for this year’s festivities.
The Swiss Wine Festival is a four-day celebration that commemorates Switzerland County’s winemaking roots and bragging rights as the “Birthplace of the First Successful Commercial Winery in the United States.”
“Switzerland County and Vevay has worked hard over the years to put this part of southeastern Indiana on the map,” said Miller. “The Swiss Wine Festival has played a big part in that.”
Visitors will find the traditional aspects of the festival firmly in place—the famous Wine Tasting Pavilion, Midwest Championship Grape Stomp, arts & crafts, amusement rides, Grand Festival Parade, riverboat cruises, 5K run/walk, cheerleading competition, live entertainment, and more. This year includes a free video game truck for children and adults and Close Encounters of the Exotic Kind that includes lions, tigers, and elephants.
Twelve Indiana wineries are offering samplings of their award-winning wines, with staff on hand to answer questions about their yield. Novice or connoisseur wine lovers can enjoy sample tastes or a glass/bottle if already acquainted with their palates desire. Participating wineries include Buck Creek, Carousel, Chateau De Pique, Ertel Cellars, French Lick, Grateful Goat Vineyard, Harmony, Indiana Creek, Lanthier, Ridge, Windy Knoll, and Winzerwald.
The event will have varieties of cuisine to suit anyone’s tastes. “The Swiss Wine Festival was selected as the Fourth Best Food Festival in Indiana by the Best of Indiana earlier this year,” Miller said. “I can personally attest that it’s hard to know what to try first!”
This year’s Swiss Wine Festival entertainment headliners are country music legends Sammy Kershaw and Aaron Tippin, performing on Fri., Aug. 24 beginning at 7:00pm—and is included with the $4 gate admission. An autograph session will take place after the show ends around 10:00pm. Additional musical performances include Brittany Gillstrap, Hi-Tops, Kent Family, Diamondback, Hot Wax, Kristen Hobbs, Stevie and the Johns, I69, the Dusty Road Band and more. Guests are advised to bring lawn chairs.
The ZuZu African Acrobats will take the Ogle Stage on Aug. 24-26. Several members of the troupe from Mombasa Kenya performed on the NBC show America’s Got Talent. Also featured will be the Kent Family Magic Circus, magician Daniel Lusk, Rik Roberts, and joyUNSPEAKABLE, an interactive character performer who boasts notable performances including one for President Ronald Reagan.
Upholding the Swiss Wine Festival tradition, gates will open on Thurs., Aug. 23 at 5:00pm with the Little Swiss Polka and Edelweiss Dancers performing at 6:00pm. Hours of practice by local youths had been undertaken to bring together a traditional part of Swiss Wine Festival entertainment.
Festivities begin on Saturday morning at 10:00am with the Grand Festival Parade in downtown Vevay. Marching bands, floats, and local and visitors line the streets of Main Street to kick-off the celebration Switzerland County-style.
Entry into the festival and parking is free on Thursday only and $4 per day on Fri.-Sun. Children 5-12 years is $2, with under age five free. Parking is $3 per vehicle. Festival times are Thurs., Aug. 23 from 5-10pm; Fri., Aug. 24 from 3pm-2am; Sat., Aug. 25 from 10:30am-2am; and Sun., Aug. 26-10:30am-6:30pm.
The Wine Pavilion is closed on Thursday, but is open Fri. 3-10pm, Sat. 11am-10pm, and Sun. noon-6:00pm. The $15 admission fee includes wine samples and a souvenir wine glass.
Additional activities, performers, and events can be found on the Swiss Wine Festival website at swisswinefestival.org, 812-427-9463 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Reservations for riverboat cruises can be made by calling 1-800-435-5688. Information on lodging, local businesses and tourist activities can be found at switzcotourism.com or by calling Switzerland County Tourism at 812-427-3237 or e-mailing visitSC@vevayin.com.
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