50th Swiss Wine Festival was ‘golden’ with big crowds and great entertainment
The 50th Swiss Wine Festival wrapped up on Sunday — and it was truly golden.
The four day festival was held under nearly perfect weather — with the exception of a short downpour on Friday evening; and large crowds responded by filling the Paul Ogle Riverfront Park.
“We were very pleased,” festival president Andy Truitt said. “The overall attendance was up. The Parade was almost an hour long and we heard great compliments.”
Thursday opened with the crowning of the Little Miss Swiss and Little Mister Swiss — Aubrie Jo Day and Lukas Gault; and that was followed by the crowning of Bri Stow as the 2022 Edelweiss Teen Princess. They joined Edelweiss Princess Annabelle Bear in reigning over the festival.
Friday brought popular entertainment to the large National Stage in the ball diamond area, as the tribute band, ‘The Highwaymen’ preceded country music star Chris Cagle. All types of other entertainment could be found around the festival grounds, from BMX Bikers to a Dinosaur Museum to the magic of Daniel Lusk.
Saturday is always a busy day for the festival, which began at 8 a.m. with the 5k Run/Walk kicking off at the foot of Ferry Street by the boat landing area.
At 10 a.m, the Grand Festival Parade kicked off from the 4-H Fairgrounds, and everything was led by Grand Marshal Mike Danner, whose dream of creating an annual event that people of the community could come together and enjoy in the 1960s became what is now known as the Swiss Wine Festival — the best four-day festival in the State of Indiana.
On the Main Stage by the Ohio River on Saturday afternoon, the Swiss Ambassador Scholarship program was held, featuring outstanding high school seniors from area high schools.
Sponsored by the Community Foundation of Switzerland County, this year’s scholarship winners were Brionna Linkel from South Ripley and Aiden Crutcher from Carroll County. Each earned a $1,000 scholarship.
Switzerland County High School was well represented, as Carly Bennett earned first runner up in the Female Swiss Ambassador and Preston Asher was the second runner up for Male Swiss Ambassador.
Saturday night saw a new national act — ‘The Classic Rock Experience’ — which brought the famous sounds of the 70s and 80s to the festival National Stage.
Saturday night on the National Stage saw the return of ‘Thunderstruck’, the premiere AC/DC tribute band.
Capping off Saturday night was the popular stage band, ‘Naked Karate Girls’ in the Beer Garden; and the 50th Swiss Wine Festival saw an incredible fireworks show glistening off of the Ohio River.
Sunday kicked off with the Community Worship Service at the Main Stage, with the offering collected going to the ‘Keeping Pace Cancer Fund’.
The Little Swiss Polka Dancers — also celebrating their 50th year — gave their final performance on Sunday afternoon; and the Main Stage saw ‘The Indigos’ and ‘Crush Bon Jovi’ wrap up the festival entertainment for another year.
Each of the four days provided festival goers with the opportunity to indulge in a wide variety of foods, from the Lions Club booth to local vendors Tiki Treats, the House of Brisket; and The German Corner. Plenty of vendors also had a variety of arts and crafts available; and the Beers and Jessop Amusement Company saw large crowds of riders.
As the festival came to an end, a weary group of dedicated volunteers who have been working all year long to put on the festival began the task of tearing everything down and storing it for another year.
The 2023 Swiss Wine Festival will be held from Thursday, August 24th through Sunday, August 27th.