Vevay’s Swiss Wine Festival celebrates 44th year

From my friend, Kendal Miller, executive director of Switzerland County Tourism about the upcoming Swiss Wine Festival:

Organizers of Indiana's 44th Swiss Wine Festival invite the public to the Paul Ogle Riverfront Park in Vevay – "Where the Good Times Flow" on Thursday-Sunday, Aug. 27-30, when the community pays homage to Switzerland County's Swiss wine-making roots. The festival is a non-stop celebration that includes food, fun, and festivities along the scenic Ohio River.
Indiana's largest 4-day Wine Festival was named a "Top Ten Festival" by Top Events USA and the Fourth Best Food Festival in Indiana by Best of Indiana.

Switzerland County Tourism is the festival's largest sponsor along with nearly 100 additional sponsors that make the top-notch festival possible each year.

Located in Switzerland County between Cincinnati and Louisville – and about two hours from Indianapolis – four days of non-stop activities, food and entertainment attract wine lovers and visitors from across the country. With a population of around 1,700, the people in and around the town of Vevay, are experts at throwing a grand festival. The famous Wine Tasting Pavilion includes 12 Indiana wineries that offer tastings of their award-winning wines or purchases by the glass or bottle.

Visitors won't be disappointed as organizers and volunteers have been working since the close of last year's event to insure that Switzerland County maintains a high-quality family celebration that honors their winemaking origins and their notoriety as the "Birthplace of the First Successful Commercial Winery in the United States."

"The festival fosters both Switzerland County's past and future. Not only does it provide a positive financial impact for local non-profit organizations and for-profit businesses, but also helps drive economic development through tourism in Switzerland County," said Kirk Works, Swiss Wine Festival President.

The event is put on by volunteers, including the unpaid Swiss Wine Festival president and board of directors. A part-time paid festival coordinator also volunteers additional time and talents. While facets of the festival require professional labor, as many tasks as possible are completed through the volunteerism of the locals. In 2013, over $40,000 collected by the festival went to 43 local clubs and organizations that provided helpers to work the festival. More than $7,000 was given through scholarships and prize money for festival events with more than $180,000 going to Switzerland County for-profit businesses and/or individuals. These amounts do not include figures for money spent by tourists through gas, food purchases outside the festival or lodging.

In 2015, visitors will find the traditional aspects of the festival firmly in place – the famous Wine Tasting Pavilion, the Midwest Championship Grape Stomp, arts and crafts, Grand Festival Parade, riverboat cruises, beer garden, 5K river run/walk, poker run, cornhole tournament, cheerleading competition, live entertainment and more. Burton Bros Amusements will return again this year with new and bigger amusement rides.

Twelve Indiana wineries in the wine pavilion offer samplings of their award-winning wines with staff on hand to answer questions about their yield. Novice or connoisseur wine lovers can enjoy samples or purchase wine by the glass or bottle. Participating wineries include Buck Creek, Carousel, Cedar Creek, Ertel Cellars, French Lick, Harmony, Indiana Creek, Lanthier, The Ridge Winery, Traders Point, Windy Knoll and Winzerwald. Entrance into the wine pavilion is $18 per person and includes a souvenir wine glass and wine sampling opportunities. A large beer garden with nightly entertainment is also available. The festrival includes many varieties of cuisine to suit anyone's taste so Works recommends that guests arrive hungry and try a variety of items.

This year's Swiss Wine Festival entertainment headliner is Parmalee, performing at 8:45 p.m. Friday, Aug. 28. The event is free with a $5 gate admission. Guests are advised to bring lawn chairs. An autograph session with be held afterward.

Additional musical performances throughout the four-day event include: Midnight Special, Rick K and the Allnighters, Skallywags, No Where Bound, Remember Me Monday, Diamond Back, Megan Ruger, Cloggers, Saving Stimpy, Six Miles South and Saffire Express.

Don't miss the Cincinnati Circus Big Show, Phoenix Fire & Flight Show, Chicago Boyz Acrobatics, the Tiger Talks live tiger show, Travel'N Riverboat Show, Rik Roberts Comedy Show and Barney Fife (impersonator). For the kids, meet and greet with Elsa & Friends, Superheros (impersonator) and Tina Riddle as Twynkle T. Clown balloon artist.

The Midwest Championship Grape Stomp will be held all weekend long and Burton Bros. Amusements will offer wristband specials each day of the festival. The Grand Festival Fireworks show over the Ohio River will be on Saturday night starting at 10:20pm.

Upholding a Swiss Wine Festival tradition, gates will open at 5p.m. Thursday with the Little Swiss Polka Dancers performing at 5:30 p.m. Hours of practice by local youths had been undertaken to uphold this traditional aspect of the Swiss Wine Festival entertainment.

Festivities begin on Saturday morning at 8am with the 5K River Walk/Run followed at 10 a.m. with the Grand Festival Parade in downtown Vevay.

Cliff Robinson Rolling Thunder Air Show with aerobatics and superb pilot skills will be on Sunday afternoon over the Ohio River beginning at 3:45pm.

A brochure with a complete list of activities and events is downloadable from the Swiss Wine Festival website located at Entry into the festival and parking is free on Thursday, 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.

The Wine Pavilion is closed on Thursday but is open 3-10 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Saturday; and noon – 5 p.m. Sunday. The $18 per person admission fee includes wine sampling opportunities and a souvenir wine glass. The Beer Garden opens Thursday for Happy Hour from 5-10 p.m. and will re-open 3 p.m. – 2 a.m. Friday; 11 a.m. – 2 a.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sunday.

For more information on Switzerland County, contact the tourism office at (812) 427-3237 or log on to their website at The Swiss Wine Festival and Switzerland County Tourism-Vevay, IN are on Facebook and Twitter.

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