Swiss Wine Festival sees good crowds, high temps, great memories


  It was hot and muggy at times, but after a year with no Swiss Wine Festival and the specter of COVID still hanging around — the 49th Swiss Wine Festival saw crowds return for the four day event.

  Official attendance figures are not yet available, but with high temperatures and rising virus numbers, there were probably some who stayed away, but overall the festival saw decent attendance each day.

  Thursday night was one filled with royalty, as the Little Miss and Little Mister Swiss winners were crowned; followed by the Teen Princess Pageant and the Edelweiss Princess pageant. There was no entrance fee on Thursday night, so it gave families the opportunity to wander down, ride some rides, get some food from one of the many vendors, and the music and entertainment was outstanding.

  Friday night brought Country music star Eddie Montgomery to the Concert Stage, and the ballfield and surrounding areas were filled with attendees taking in some great music.

  The music wasn’t just limited to the Concert Stage, as others enjoyed music on the Main Stage; entertainment ranging from magic to art in different areas; and the amusement rides will filled with happy kids.

  Friday evening also saw a bit of luck in terms of weather, as forecasts of heavy rain in the area seemed to slide around the festival area in the Paul Ogle Riverfront Park, but the clouds kept the temperatures at a comfortable level.

  Saturday morning brought the annual 5K run/walk; and Main Street was lined with residents and guests as the Grand Festival Parade again proved to be a popular event.

  This year’s Grand Marshal was Doctor Robert Findley, who is celebrating 40 years of dental practice here. Doc and cohort Edsel Detraz — famous in past years for hilarious parade entries — were again in rare form, riding in a beat up old car that was being towed by a large wrecker.

  The parade also had a wide variety of local entries, from the senior class to youth football teams to the Little Miss and Little Mister of the recent 4-H Fair.

  Sunny skies meant hot temperatures on Saturday afternoon, but those who did wander into the park got to see some outstanding young people from area high schools participate in the Swiss Ambassador contest. Braydan Allen of Switzerland County earned first runner up accolades; while female Swiss Ambassador candidate from Switzerland County Alisha Detmer represented her school and this community very well.

  Bryan Carpenter of South Ripley and Kate Jenkins of Rising Sun were the overall winners of the Ambassador program for this year.

  Saturday night is always a big draw — and this year was no exception.

  ‘Thunderstruck’ — the nation’s premiere AC/DC tribute band, played its third straight Swiss Wine Festival — and again packed the grounds around the concert stage.

  Throughout the festival attendees got to sample a wide variety of beverages, from the craft beers and spirits that were on site to the Wine Pavilion that featured over 100 varieties of Indiana wines.

  The entire focus of the Swiss Wine Festival centers on the fact that Switzerland County was home to the first commercial winery in the entire country — so having so many Indiana wineries come to Vevay for the festival is appropriate — and historic.

  Sunday saw the Vevay Church of Christ lead the annual Community Church Service at the Main stage; and the afternoon saw Bluegrass bands take the Main Stage of the festival; and they did not disappoint. There was still plenty of good food for those in attendance; and soaring temperatures meant that cool treats like ice cream and shaved ice were in demand.

  Official figures may show a slight dip in attendance over the past few record-setting years — but the 2021 Swiss Wine Festival will go into the books as a very successful one pulled off by dedicated volunteers who worked tirelessly for the good of the community.