It’s a 200th birthday party and you’re invited!
Vevay-Switzerland County is celebrating their Bicentennial on October 4-13, 2013 with activities and events for all ages. Dubbed the “Birthplace of the First Successful Commercial Winery in the United States,” Switzerland County is also where the Mormon hay press was invented and is home to the famous Swiss Wine Festival.
Vevay’s 200th birthday is a year before the 1814 founding of Switzerland County. Because the milestones are only a year apart, the Vevay-Switzerland County Bicentennial Committee decided to celebrate both occasions this year.
Several mini-events–gearing up to main events– have included Bicentennial-themed festivities such as the Bicentennial Swiss Wine Festival parade, a tea at the Community Art Center and a community book reading at the Switzerland County Public Library.
Local men have joined “Brothers of the Brush” with ladies signed up as “Bicentennial Belles.” All wear ribbons and earn buttons to signify their participation at each Bicentennial mini event. Several of “Brothers” have been growing beards to mark the occasion (as men folk did during the 1963 Vevay-Switzerland County’s Sesquicentennial) with “Belles” wearing specific items during themed events.
There is so much going on during the Vevay-Switzerland County Bicentennial that a website went live earlier this year listing current and upcoming events with times and locations. Log on to http://vevaybicentennial.org for schedules and to view historic photos of the area.
Bicentennial merchandise is also on sale at the Switzerland County Visitors Center including, tee-shirts, tote bags, wine glasses, coloring books with sketches by artist
Donna Cole, a Bicentennial basket with lid design by Erin Williams and a limited edition commemorative bronze medallion designed by Indiana Artisan Donna Weaver.
A special Bicentennial wine made by award-winning winemakers Tom and Mary Jane Demaree is available at The Ridge Winery.
On October 4 the main celebration begins with a “Patchwork of History” quilt show at the Switzerland County Technology and Education Center. Located at 708 West Seminary Street in Vevay, the show spans 100 years and includes Switzerland County history displays of social and service organizations. The event is from 4:00 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, continuing on Saturday, October 5 from 10 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday, October 6 from noon until 5:00 p.m. There is no admission.
Vevay Main Street will host their monthly First Friday event themed “Patchwork of History” on Friday, October 4 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Enjoy late night shopping, dining, art openings, live entertainment, and free carriage rides around downtown Vevay.
The Switzerland County Visitors Center will host a kids of all ages “Patchwork Pumpkin” craft table and will give away free pumpkin stencils. The event is Friday, October 4 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and is free and open to the public. The center is located at 128 West Main Street in downtown Vevay.
An encore presentation of “The Stripping Room,” a play about stripping tobacco will be shown at the Historic Hoosier Theater beginning at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, October 4. Written by local playwright Libby Kinman, the performance is geared towards mature audiences. The theater is located on 209 Ferry Street in downtown Vevay. Admission is $10.
An old-fashioned tent “Chautauqua” will take place at the Switzerland County Historical Museum grounds at 208 East Market Street at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 5. Known as an outlet for guest speakers to talk on social and political issues, Vevay will once again hold a Chautauqua in celebration of the Bicentennial.
William Jennings Bryan, one of Vevay’s most popular Chautauqua speakers of 1917, will make a return visit this year. Period performances of music, dance and comedic relief will also take center stage. Guests are invited in dress in appropriate attire of the 1900s and mingle at a tea following the performances. Admission is free and open to the public.
For those more sports minded, the Vevay White Stockings are back! Vevay’s own men’s baseball team will take to the diamond at Paul Ogle Riverfront Park in Vevay on Sunday, October 6 at 1:00 p.m. against the Rising Sun Belle River team. Donning vintage uniforms, the troupe plays in an open field using circa 1869 rules and no ball gloves.
Honoring Switzerland County’s rural heritage, the “Rural Heritage Tour” will take place at Musee de Venoge; the Thiebaud Farmstead; and Garland Farm on Saturday, October 12 from 10 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday, October 12 from noon until 5:00 p.m.
Musee de Venoge (111 State Road 129) and Thiebaud Farmstead (5147 East State Road 56) are revitalized properties that are now home museums listed on the National Register of Historic Sites. Both locations will feature military demonstrations, domestic arts, hearth cooking and period trades during the Rural Heritage Tour.
While admission is free for the tour, tickets are available for $11 for an ox dinner to be served at Musee de Venoge. Dessert will follow down the river at the Thiebaud Homestead.
Garland Farm (2767 Garland Road) is a modern dairy farm located at 2767 Garland Road. Devoted to producing organic foods, the Garland’s Jersey herd is grass-fed. The business is located on a family farm complete with a scissor-truss barn and a house built in 1836.
Other activities during the Vevay-Switzerland County Bicentennial include a “Cast Iron Chef” contest, antique tractor show, cake decorating contest, tobacco stripping contest, Bicentennial art tour, and more.
For a complete list of Bicentennial events, times and locations, log on to vevaybicentennial.org. For information on local lodging, businesses and year-around events, contact the Switzerland County Visitors Center at (812) 427-3237, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or log on to www.switzcotourism.com. Switzerland County Tourism-Vevay, IN is on Facebook.