‘The fun starts flowing’ tonight at the Swiss Wine Festival

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The 37th annual Swiss Wine Festival will begin tonight (Thursday) in the Paul Ogle Riverfront Park in Vevay, and this year’s four-day festival promises to be one of the best yet.

The festival will feature many of the events and activities that have become traditions at the festival, including the Grand Festival Parade at 10 a.m. on Saturday; performances by the Little Swiss Polka Dancers and the Edelweiss Dancers on Thursday evening, Saturday afternoon, and Sunday afternoon; the 5-K Run and Walk on Saturday morning; and the fireworks show over the river on Saturday night.

There will also be grape stomping and steintossing; bands, activities, and plenty of great food; and other events taking place all around the grounds of the festival.

Here’s a look at some of the highlights of this year’s lineup:

– Tonight (Thursday), the festival will offer free parking and also a bracelet night for those wanting to ride on the amusement rides. The “4-Paws Doggie Pageant” will be held at 5:45 p.m.; following by the Little Swiss Polka Dancers and Edelweiss Dancers; the Little Miss and Little Mister Swiss competition; and the opening ceremonies.

Thursday will conclude with the crowning of the Edelweiss Teen Princess at the Main Stage.

– Tomorrow (Friday), there will be Big Wheel races beginning at 6 p.m.; followed by entertainer Kelly Dameron and the strolling “Travel’n Riverboat” show. The “Saffire Express” band will be playing on the Main Stage; and the first grape stomp competition will be held.

Rusty Bladen will be performing in the Beer Garden on Friday night; and the evening will be topped off with a Lighted Boat Parade on the Ohio River beginning at 10 p.m.

– Saturday, August 23rd gets started with the 5-K Run and Walk at 8 a.m.; followed by the Grand Festival Parade through downtown at 10 a.m.

Following the parade, “Backdoor Mafia” will be performing on the Main Stage; and there will be grape stomps, strolling performers, and many other events taking place all day Saturday around the festival grounds.

The 3-on-3 basketball tournament will begin at 12:30 p.m.; and the Swiss Ambassador competition will begin at 1:45 p.m. at the Main Stage.

Headlining the Main Stage on Saturday night will be the popular “Hot Wax” show band, which will kick off their performance at 8 p.m. “Taken” will perform in the Beer Garden; and the Fireworks Show will begin at 10:10 p.m.

– The four-day festival wraps up on Sunday, August 24th, but the final day is filled with events.

The community church service will be held on the riverfront at 10:30 a.m.; and the Chord House Band will perform beginning at noon.

The “Great Canoe Race” begins on the river at 12:30 p.m.; and “Stays in Vegas” will be performing on the Main Stage beginning at 2:15 p.m. The junior high cheerleader competition will be held at the Main Stage at 3:15 p.m.; and the high school cheerleader competition will be held at 4:30 p.m., capping off a great four days of festival events.

There will also be a poker run; a cornhole tournament; a wine tasting pavilion featuring 11 Indiana wineries; and riverboat cruises throughout the festival including a dinner cruise on Saturday followed by a fireworks cruise.

For more information on this year’s Swiss Wine Festival, contact the festival office at 427-9463 (427-WINE).