New events, features highlight this year’s Swiss Wine Festival

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The 46th Swiss Wine Festival gets underway tonight (Thursday), and throughout its four-day run, residents and guests will have the opportunity to experience and explore both traditional and new features at the festival.

As you plan your festival stay, here are five new events and activities that everyone will want to see.

CRAFT BEER AND SPIRITS PAVILION

This new venue for the Swiss Wine Festival will be located to the west of the Main Stage along the Ohio River, and will feature over 30 craft beers from around Indiana; along with over 20 of Indiana’s finest spirits.

The Craft Beer and Spirits Pavilion will allow guests to sample one the features, as well as drinks by the glass will be available for purchase. The $5 admission entitles a guest to a sample and a souvenir glass; and representatives from the breweries and the distilleries will be on hand to answer questions about their creations.

Breweries expected include: 450 North Brewing Company; Salt Creek Brewery; Cedar Creek Brew Company; Lil’ Charlie’s Brewery; Quaff On Brewing Company; Bloomington Brewing Company; Upland Brewing Company; and Schnitz Brewery.

Distillers on hand will include: Bear Wallow Distillery; Best Winery; Broken Beaker; and Spirits of French Lick.

The Pavilion will be open on Friday from 3-11 p.m.; on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

PARTY GARDEN

Family fun for kids of all ages is the focus of the new Party Garden at this year’s Swiss Wine Festival.

Located at the bottom of the Ferry Street hill on the west side as guests enter the main entrance of the festival; the Party Garden will have a wide variety of events and activities going on for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

On Thursday night there will be a DJ Fun GLOW Party beginning at 5:30 p.m.; with a DJ Fun PAINT Party on Friday at 7 p.m.; and a DJ Fun FOAM Party on Saturday night at 7 p.m.

Also scheduled for the Party Garden will be animal fun presented by the local Happy Hooves Petting Zoo and Pony Rides. The Petting Zoo and Pony Rides will begin on Thursday evening at 5 p.m.; on Friday at 3 p.m.; Saturday at noon; and Sunday at 11 a.m.

For those wanting to cool off on a hot day; or who just want to have some wet fun; the Water Wars Balloon Fun will be held in the Party Garden on Thursday at 5:30 p.m.; on Friday at 5:30 p.m.; on Saturday at noon; and on Sunday at noon.

Also set for the Party Garden will be ‘Knocker Ball’ activities; where everyone will be wearing a large, inflated plastic bubble that keeps you safe while playing soccer or other activites; and as you bounce into and run into others who are also playing. Games will be played on Friday from 6-9 p.m.; on Saturday from 1-9 p.m.; and on Sunday from 1-4 p.m.

Also new this year, and being held in the playground area of the Paul Ogle Riverfront Park is a free kids Bubble Party held on Thursday night at 5:30 p.m.; on Friday night at 6:30 p.m.; and on Saturday the Bubble Party will be held at noon and again at 6 p.m.

MILITARY BOAT RIDES

Along with the traditional riverboat cruises on the Ohio River by Queen City Riverboats, a new activity on the river this year will be rides in an authentic military-style boat.

Rides will be available on Friday from 4-8:30 p.m.; and on Saturday from noon to 9 p.m. Rides are $5 per person.

ENTERTAINMENT

There will be all sorts of new and unique entertainment going on all around the grounds of this year’s festival.

Here’s a peek at just a few:

• World of Wonders is a family-oriented show that will be held at multiple times during this year’s festival. Located on the west side of the Wine Tasting Pavilion and south of the amusement rides; World of Wonders features 10 different unusual and amazing sideshow-type acts, all under the Big Top. It bills itself as “The Strangest Show on Earth.”

• Travel back in time to the days of the Old West for another new show, when the “Wild West Show” and Annie’s Trick Shooting Show will be held at the Festival Stage, which is located just east of the Wine Tasting Pavilion.

• On the festival’s Midway will be the ‘Escape Explosion’ show, which will thrill everyone with daring escapes from ropes, chains, handcuffs, a giant whiskey barrel; and the grand finale will see a performer escape from a straitjacket while hanging upside down.

• Add to that all of the other entertainers performing during the weekend – highlighted by The Charlie Daniels Band on Friday and ‘Sounds of Summer’ on Saturday, and there’s truly something for everyone.

FREE PARKING!

Okay, so it’s not a new event, but it is new. As a way of continuing to give back to the community; the Swiss Wine Festival’s board of directors decided that there would be free parking for everyone all four days of the festival.

That saves everyone money, allowing folks to come down to the festival more often; and take in all those traditional favorites like the Grape Stomp and the Little Swiss Polka Dancers.

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Want to know more about this year’s Swiss Wine Festival? Check out the 24-page special edition that is included in this week’s Vevay paper.