It’s finally here: Festival starts today


The 2005 Swiss Wine Festival begins today (Thursday) along the Ohio River at the Paul Ogle Riverfront Park. There are all types of activities taking place during the four-day festival, and here’s a look at some of the events that you’ll want to take in.

— Tonight (Thursday) is a local night, with free parking for all visitors. The “4-Paws” doggie pageant sponsored by the Swiss Friends of Animals gets things started at 6 p.m.; followed by the Community Grape Stomp at 6:30 p.m.

The Little Swiss Polka Dancers and the Edelweiss Dancers will be at the Main Stage at 6:45 p.m.; and the evening is highlighted by the Edelweiss Teen Princess pageant, which is set for 8 p.m. at the Main Stage.

— Tomorrow (Friday) will see all types of entertainment at the festival, including individuals and groups that will be strolling around the festival grounds rather than being contained on a stage.

The 3-kilometer river run for children is at 6:30 p.m.; and headlining the Main Stage entertainment will be the “Endless Summer Band”, which gets started at 7:30 p.m. At 10 p.m. there will be a laser light at the ball fields; and don’t miss the balloon glow, a new feature at the festival.

— Saturday is a big day at the festival, and things kick off at 8 a.m. with the 5-kilometer River Run/Walk which starts and ends at the river. The Grand Festival Parade starts at 10 a.m.; and the 3-on-3 basketball action begins its 2-day run in the park beginning at 12:30 p.m.

There’s always great entertainment on Saturday, and from the Ohio River Minstrels strolling through the grounds to the nationally-known “Van-Dells” on the Main Stage at 8 p.m., there’s something for everyone.

Saturday will also be a great day to enjoy a riverboat cruise on the Ohio River, or for the more adventurous, take a helicopter ride on Saturday afternoon.

— Sunday caps off the festival, and will feature two cheerleading competitions this year, one for high school squads (1:30 p.m.) and one for junior high squads (3 p.m.). The Great Canoe Race will paddle off on the river beginning at noon; and the Main Stage will feature Stacy Lynn at noon at 2:30 p.m.; and the Swing Time Big Band at 4 p.m.

Throughout the weekend there will be much, much more; from grape stomping and steintossing to the wine pavilion and the beer garden. There’s plenty of music and arts and craft booths, and a special antique auction will take place on Sunday.

There’s a cruise in and a poker run for motorcycles, and special stages for young people and children.

Put it all together, and you’ll want to spend every free moment at this year’s Swiss Wine Festival.