The 50th Swiss Wine Festival was “golden” with big crowds and great entertainment
The 50th Swiss Wine Festival ended on Sunday – and it was truly golden.
The four-day festival was held in near-perfect weather — except for a brief shower on Friday evening; and large crowds responded by filling Paul Ogle Riverfront Park.
“We were very pleased,” said festival president Andy Truitt. “Overall attendance is up. The parade lasted almost an hour and we heard great compliments.’
Thursday began with the crowning of Little Miss Swiss and Little Mister Swiss — Aubrie Jo Day and Lukas Gault; and this was followed by the crowning of Bree Stowe as the Edelweiss Teenage Princess for 2022. They joined Edelweiss Princess Annabelle Bear in running the festival.
Friday brought popular entertainment to the big national stage in the Diamond Zone as tribute band The Highwaymen fronted country music star Chris Cagle. All sorts of other entertainment can 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 a 5k Run/Walk that started at the foot of Ferry Street next to the boat landing area.
At 10 a.m., the Grand Festival Parade started from the 4-H Fairgrounds and was led by Grand Marshal Mike Danner, whose dream of creating an annual event where people in the community could come together and enjoy themselves dates back to the 1960s of the last century, has evolved into what is now known as the Swiss Wine Festival – the premier four-day festival in the state of Indiana.
The main stage along the Ohio River hosted the Swiss Ambassador’s Scholarship Program, featuring outstanding seniors from area high schools, on Saturday afternoon.
Sponsored by the Community Foundation of Switzerland County, this year’s scholarship winners were Briona Linkel of South Ripley and Aidan Crutcher of Carroll County. Each won a $1,000 scholarship.
Swiss County High School was well represented as Carly Bennett won first runner-up for Female Swiss Ambassador and Preston Usher was second runner-up for Male Swiss Ambassador.
Saturday night saw a new national performance — “The Classic Rock Experience” — bringing the famous sounds of the 70s and 80s to the festival’s national stage.
Saturday night at the National Stage saw the return of ‘Thunderstruck’, the premiere AC/DC tribute band.
Rounding off the Saturday night was the popular stage band Naked Karate Girls in the beer garden; and the 50th Swiss Wine Festival saw an incredible fireworks display twinkling along the Ohio River.
Sunday began with the Community Worship Service on the main stage, with donations raised going to the Pace Cancer Fund.
The Little Swiss Polka Dancers – also celebrating their 50th anniversary – gave their final performance on Sunday afternoon; and the main stage saw ‘The Indigos’ and ‘Crush Bon Jovi’ round off the festival entertainment for another year.
Each of the four days provided festival goers with the opportunity to enjoy a wide variety of food, from the Lions Club booth to local vendors Tiki Treats, House of Brisket; and the German Corner. Many vendors also had a variety of arts and crafts; and the Beers and Jessop Amusement Company saw large crowds of riders.
When the festival ended, a tired group of dedicated volunteers who work all year to organize the festival began the task of tearing everything down and storing it for another year.
The Swiss Wine Festival 2023 will take place from Thursday 24 August to Sunday 27 August.