41st Swiss Wine Festival kicks off next Thursday in Ogle Park

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The 41st edition of the Swiss Wine Festival, which this year kicks off on Thursday, August 23rd and runs through Sunday, August 26th, will feature nationally-known entertainment along with traditional favorites that promise to make this year’s event bigger and better than in the past.

Highlighting this year’s festival will be a Friday night concert by Country music stars Sammy Kershaw and Aaron Tippen.

Known in the music industry as the “Hillbilly Hercules,” Aaron Tippin will kick-off Friday evening’s performance from 7-8:15 p.m.. Apart from writing, recording, and wowing crowds with his live appearances, he is also a pilot, farmer, winemaker, outdoorsman, avid bodybuilder, and devoted family man.

Sammy Kershaw will perform from 8:45-10 p.m. on Friday night. Debuting on the music scene in the early 1990s, Sammy Kershaw has remained one of the most consistent power hitters in country music both with a chain of major hit records and sell-out touring schedules.

The duo is also expected to take the stage together to finish the evening. The performance will be at the main stage of the festival, and the concert is included in the admission price for Friday night, so a big crowd is expected.

Another new entertainment group that has gained national fame is ‘ZuZu’.

The ‘ZuZu’ Acrobats are a never before seen entertainment spectacular from the heart of Africa and recently had many of its members star on the NBC show “America’s Got Talent”.

The group performs a high energy choreographed routine which includes fast pyramid building, limbo, contortion, battle balancing, tumbling, chair stacks, balancing and much more.

‘Zuzu’ will be performing several shows on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday during the festival weekend.

The country music duo and the ‘Zuzu’ acrobats are just two of many highlights for this year’s festival. Here’s a rundown of some of the events going on:

– Thursday, August 23rd will again feature the Little Swiss Polka Dancers at the Main Stage beginning at 6 p.m.; with the second annual Mini-Parade moving through the festival grounds beginning at 7 p.m.

After opening ceremonies at 8 p.m., Thursday will conclude with the Edelweiss Teen Princess Pageant at the Main Stage beginning at 8:10 p.m.

- Friday, August 24th will see more new entertainment at the festival, with the debut performance of ‘ZuZu’, “Close Encounters of an Exotic Kind”; and magician Daniel Lusk, along with the performances by Aaron Tippin and Sammy Kershaw.

The grape stomp competition will begin on Friday; and the local band “DeeZel” will be playing in the Beer Garden on Friday night beginning at 10:30 p.m.

– Saturday is always a big day at the festival; and again it begins with the 5K Run/Walk that winds through town at 8 a.m. The race begins and ends at the riverfront; and there are many great vantage points to see the runners along the course.

The Grand Festival Parade moves along Main Street beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday; and other events during the day include the “Joy Unspeakable” strolling statue that has long been popular with everyone; the Swiss Ambassador program at the Main Stage at 1:45 p.m.; comedian Rik Roberts at 5:30 p.m.; and the “Ladies for Liberty” patriotic show will be at 6:30 p.m.

“Hot Wax” the popular show band that is wildly popular among festival goers, takes the Main Stage on Saturday for shows at 7:30 p.m. and again at 9 p.m.; and Saturday’s activities will end with a fireworks display beginning at 10:15 p.m.

- Sunday will begin with the Community Church Service at the Main Stage beginning at 10:30 a.m. John Thompson, a young man who has overcome autism to sing and play the piano will be featured at the service; which is attended by all denominations.

Contemporary Christian singer Christian Hobbs will perform at noon; and Sunday will again be highlighted by the Junior High cheerleading competition beginning at 3 p.m.; followed by the High School cheerleading competition beginning at 4:30 p.m.

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For more information on this year’s Swiss Wine Festival, visit www.swisswinefestival.org; call the festival office at 427-9463; or see the special Swiss Wine Festival commemorative section that will be included in the August 23rd edition of the Vevay Newspapers.