42nd Swiss Wine Festival in Vevay, Aug. 22-25
By Kendal Miller
Switzerland County Tourism
Anticipation is in the air as preparations for the opening day of the 42nd Swiss Wine Festival are well underway. Held at Paul Ogle Riverfront Park in Vevay, Indiana, this year’s event is Thursday to Sunday, August 22-25, 2013.
It takes a town—and many volunteers—to bring together one of Indiana’s Top Ten Festivals and the number four food festival in the state. With a population of less than 2000, the people in and around the town of Vevay (pronounced Vee-vee) are experts at throwing a grand festival. Located in Switzerland County between Cincinnati and Louisville—and about an hour and half from Indianapolis—four days of non-stop activities, food and entertainment attract visitors from across the country. Not to be overshadowed, the famous Wine Tasting Pavilion with 12 Indiana wineries are on site making offering tastings of their award-winning wines.
Visitors won’t be disappointed as organizers are pulling out all the corks for this year’s Bicentennial Swiss Wine Festival edition. The celebration commemorates Switzerland County’s winemaking roots and bragging rights as the “Birthplace of the First Successful Commercial Winery in the United States.”
“Vevay is celebrating their Bicentennial this year, with Switzerland County’s coming up in 2014. Organizers decided to combine them and have the Vevay-Switzerland County Bicentennial celebration this October. This year’s Swiss Wine Festival will capitalize on that with the Bicentennial Grand Festival Parade and other facets of this year’s event,” said Kendal Miller, public relations spokesperson for the event. “The Swiss Wine Festival continues to be a crowd favorite across Southeast Indiana and beyond.”
Visitors will find the traditional aspects of the festival firmly in place—the famous Wine Tasting Pavilion, Midwest Championship Grape Stomp, arts & crafts, amusement rides, Grand Festival Parade, riverboat cruises, 5K run/walk, cheerleading competition, live entertainment, and more.
Twelve Indiana wineries are offering samplings of their award-winning wines, with staff on hand to answer questions about their yield. Novice or connoisseur wine lovers can enjoy sample tastes or a glass/bottle if already acquainted with their palate’s desire. Participating wineries include Buck Creek, Carousel, Chateau De Pique, Ertel Cellars, French Lick, Grateful Goat Vineyard, Harmony, Indiana Creek, Lanthier, Ridge, Windy Knoll, and Winzerwald. Entrance into the wine pavilion is $15 per person and includes a souvenir wine glass and wine samples.
“The event will include many varieties of cuisine to suit anyone’s taste,” said Miller. “The Swiss Wine Festival earned Fourth Best Food Festival in Indiana honor a couple years ago—you’ll understand why when see the selection and smell all wonderful aromas near the food section.”
This year’s Swiss Wine Festival entertainment headliner is country music legend Tracy Lawrence, performing on Friday, August 23 beginning at 8:45pm. The event is free with a $5 gate admission, with guests advised to bring lawn chairs.
Additional musical performances throughout the event include: Allen as Tim & the Dance Hall Rockers, a dynamic group of Tim McGrawTribute Artists from the Metro Detroit Area. After Midnight, ALY’AN, Captain Rat and the Blind Rivets, CEF Michael, Diamondback, Full Circle Band, Heart Breaker Video DJ, and Stevie and the Johns will also be performing.
The Nerveless Nocks Thrill Show includes descendants of the Swiss Circus Family Nock, who are among the most respected aerial stunt artists in the world. They will perform all four festival days. Also appearing will be a Silly Safaris Live Animal Show, Celtic Motion Irish Dancers, stilt walkers, a fire performer and more!
This year includes an Aussie Kingdom, featuring different species of kangaroos and wallabies along with native Australian birds. A Laser Light Show Spectacular before the customary fireworks takes place Saturday evening.
Upholding the Swiss Wine Festival tradition, gates will open on Thursday, August 23 at 5:00pm with the Little Swiss Polka Dancers performing at 6:00pm. Hours of practice by local youths had been undertaken to bring together this traditional aspect of the Swiss Wine Festival entertainment.
Festivities begin on Saturday morning at 10:00am with the Bicentennial Grand Festival Parade in downtown Vevay. Marching bands, floats, and local and visitors line the streets of Main Street to kick-off the celebration Switzerland County-style, this year paying homage to the Vevay-Switzerland County 200th birthday.
Entry into the festival and parking is free on Thursday only and $5 per day on Friday-Saturday with children 5-12 years for $3. Youths under age five are free. Sunday admission is $4 for adults and $2 for youths 5-12. Youths under age five are free.
Festival times are Thursday, August 22 from 5-10pm; Friday, August, 23 from 3pm-2am; Saturday, Aug. 24 from 10:30am-2am; and Sun., Aug. 25-10:30am-6:30pm. There is a small parking fee.
The Wine Pavilion is closed on Thursday, but is open Friday, 3-10pm, Saturday, 11am-10pm, and Sun. noon-5:00pm. The $15 per person admission fee includes wine samples and a souvenir wine glass. The Beer Garden opens Thursday for Happy Hour from 5:00pm-10pm and will reopen Friday from 3:00pm-2am; Saturday 11am-2am; and Sunday, 11am-6pm.
Additional activities, performers, and events can be found on the Swiss Wine Festival Web site at http://www.swisswinefestival.org/ or call 812-427-9463. Reservations for riverboat cruises can be made by calling 800-435-5688. Information on lodging, local businesses and tourist activities can be found at http://www.switzcotourism.com/, or call Switzerland County Tourism at 812-427-3237.