45th Swiss Wine Festival is a huge success despite hot weather

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The 45th Swiss Wine Festival is now history, and as work begins to clean up and restore the Paul Ogle Riverfront Park, it also begins on planning the 2017 event.

Sunny, hot weather with a splash of Saturday rain were again typical for this year’s event; but all four days of the festival were well attended, and committee members all received very positive feedback on all of the activities and programming.

“I think things went pretty well, overall it was good,” Festival President Kirk Works said. “I haven’t gotten any of the analysis yet on attendance; but overall I think everybody had a good time. We had positive feedback, which is what we want.”

Works said that his feeling was that attendance was up and Thursday and Friday, but down a bit on Saturday and Sunday.

“But we haven’t counted the passes yet,” Works said. “We sold a lot of those this year, so I don’t know. We’ll have to wait until we see what those numbers are, but we feel pretty good overall.”

Thursday saw a huge crowd turn out for the crowning of the Little Miss and Mister Swiss; the Edelweiss Pre-Teen Princess; and the Edelweiss Teen Princess; as well as take in some outstanding performances and partake in some great food in the food court area.

Alayna Smith was honored as this year’s Little Miss Swiss; Pierce Swango earned Little Mister Swiss honors; Brooke Johnson was crowned as the Edelweiss Pre-Teen Princess; and Calleigh Powell reigned as the Edelweiss Teen Princess.

Friday saw another overflow crowd hit the park, which had a night filled with entertainment, highlighted by the concert on the Big Stage by 38 Special. Other entertainers filled both the Main Stage and the Festival Stage; while others toured the festival grounds. The Xpogo extreme pogo stick stunt team was wildly popular with festival goers; as was the Barbershop Quartet. The ‘Belairs’ show on the Main Stage saw a large crowd; and Friday also saw the first of many performances by the ‘Nerveless Nocks’ Ski Show on the Ohio River.

Saturday opened with the 5K Run/Walk through the streets of Vevay; and Saturday featured what much of the large crowd anticipated – the Budweiser Clydesdales parading down Main Street as the Grand Marshals of the Grand Festival Parade.

“I think it was probably the biggest attendance we’ve ever had for our parade,” Works said.

As afternoon came on Saturday, so did hot, humid weather, but residents and visitors still made their way around the grounds, visiting the arts and crafts booths, as well as the Beer Garden and the Wine Pavilion.

The middle of the afternoon saw activities come to a pause for a brief but intense rain shower; and after that finished, Jessica Koons of Rising Sun and Josh Walston of South Ripley were crowned as this year’s Swiss Ambassador winners. Switzerland County’s Nick Braun was the second runner up in the Male Ambassador competition; while MacKenzie Covington did well as the school’s Female Ambassador candidate.

The afternoon rain and the hot weather may have kept some people away from the festival; but there was still a big crowd teeming through the park as Saturday night came; with many heading to the Big Stage for performances by Cody Slaughter, the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist. The Main Stage on Saturday night featured the “GenX” Band; and the fireworks show capped a great day of festival fun.

Sunday saw the annual Community Worship Service held at the amphitheater, and this year those attending decided that the offering from the worship service would be donated to the flood victims in Louisiana. After all was counted, $779 had been given, and will go to help those in need after the terrible flooding..

More hot weather came on Sunday, but there was still plenty to do. The water ski show and the extreme pogo stunt teams continued to amaze and entertain; and there was plenty of live music on the Main Stage.

Sunday capped with the annual cheerleader competition, with the squad from Switzerland County finishing third overall behind champion South Dearborn and second place North Harrison.

“I think everyone had a good time,” Works said. “That’s the important thing. We want everyone to enjoy everything that goes on.”