As October, 2012, begins this Monday, for a group of volunteers, all eyes and focus is one year away, as preparations continue for Vevay’s Bicentennial Celebration, which will be held throughout next year, but will focus on a week filled with activities beginning on October 4th, 2013, and running through October 13th.
Jeni Scudder, who heads the organizing committee, said that Bicentennial activities will actually begin earlier in the year, with plans to coordinate with the Swiss Wine Festival parade next August, making it even bigger and better than in past years. From there, other activities will lead up to the official celebration.
Jeni Scudder said that the Bicentennial committee has broken the week into four general areas of celebration: Education and the Arts; Business and Agriculture; History and Genealogy; and ‘The River’. From there, many different activities will be held in connection with those four areas.
“We are working on things like a presentation on why they came here, migration to Switzerland County,” Jeni Scudder said. “We are planning a 1917-style Chautauqua like they used to have here. There will be a quilt exhibit and different exhibits in the new building on Seminary Street. We’re having an antique tractor show and an iron kettle cook off; and a tobacco stripping contest and display. There are many different things.”
Also coordinating with the celebration will be the Rural Heritage Tour, which will feature tours and demonstrations at the Thiebaud Farmstead, Musee de Venoge, and also at a modern farm.
For some of the entertainment, the committee will be gathering “Edelweiss Singers” to perform; and there are also plans to form a community band for performances that week.
“We’ve also been talking about resurrecting the ‘Brothers of the Brush’, which was very popular at the Sesquicentennial in 1963,” Jeni Scudder said. “And we’re wanting the Hoosier Theater to put on the play ‘The Stripping Room’ again. We will also have roving reenactors who will portray character from the play ‘Plum Creek Anthology’ that is all about the history here.”
She also said that there will be an “Art Crawl” during the Bicentennial, which will include tours showcasing artwork from past and current artists here.
Working with Shannon Phipps of the Switzerland County Public Library, the committee hopes to get the entire county involved in the “One Book, One Community” program, where people in a community all read the same book at the same time, promoting discussion and bringing the community closer.
One of the books being discussed as a possibility is “Follow the River”.
“Of course we have plans to get the school kids involved in Bicentennial projects,” Jeni Scudder said. “Hanover College has agreed to bring a river history display; and we will also be holding a huge class reunion for everyone to come back and renew acquaintances from Vevay High School, Patriot High School, and Switzerland County High School.”
The final event of the week-long Bicentennial celebration will be a huge gathering at the Paul Ogle Riverfront Park for a community celebration along the Ohio River. There will be food, games, entertainment, and other activities that will serve as a way for the community to come together and enjoy themselves with family and friends.
The committee is focused on trying to make as many of the activities during Bicentennial week free to the public, so that families and others can enjoy as many of the programs as possible without having to worry about fees and charges. Jeni Scudder said that there is a fundraising committee within the Bicentennial committee, and that group will be working on gathering donations to offset expenses so that as much of the program as possible can be free to the public.
One of the early campaigns will be a kickoff in which the committee will seek 200 members/families in the community to donate $200 each as start up funding in honor of Vevay’s 200 years. The exact plans and benefits to those donors is still being worked out, but that campaign will be starting soon.
“We just feel that it’s important that families be able to come down during the week and enjoy all of the things going on without having to worry about buying tickets for everyone and things like that,” Jeni Scudder said. “This is the community’s celebration, and we want everyone to participate.”
With donations that are left over once the Bicentennial is complete, any funds left over will be used by the committee to purchase a ‘community gift’ which will be a lasting tribute to the community for future generations. Ideas for what that ‘gift’ might be are being solicited from the public.
The Bicentennial also has a Facebook page, and those going to that page will find a “bucket list” of all types of ideas and activities that have been suggested as a part of the week’s festivities, and there is always room for others to make even more suggestions.
For those who want to learn more about helping with the Bicentennial, the committee is always looking for more help and more involvement. All volunteers, both individuals and also community groups and organizations which would like to designate a member to represent them at the meetings, are welcome. It is hoped that civic groups in the community will find a special project to coordinate with the Bicentennial and then take on that project, which would create even more activities for attendees.
The next meeting of the Bicentennial Committee will be held on Tuesday, October 16th. It will be held in the meeting room of the Switzerland County Public Library, and will begin at 6 p.m. Everyone is invited to attend.