Tuesday, October 06, 2009
Swiss Festival in Sugarcreek, Ohio
We have moved south into Tennessee, but before we left Amish country, we managed to visit Sugarcreek, Ohio during their Swiss festival. The town calls themselves the Switzerland of Ohio both in heritage and the structural features of many of the buildings in the downtown area.
The festival is the event of the year in this small town and as we walked through the streets and watched the parade, it really has the feeling of small town America that I remember growing up. The parade lasted over an hour with all local and nearby town entries and you could easily chock it up to just an old fashioned display in a backward place. But I remember well marching in many such parades as part of the local band and taking it very seriously along with everyone else in town. This parade had many parade queens for various groups with the big queen being the Swiss Festival queen.
There was the carnival atmosphere in the rides and old fashioned fast food of the midway and the very Swiss demonstration of the mountain horns. There is a small local museum on Main Street that we walked thru and looked at the many items donated by local families showing their history. While there, we observed an exchange between an attendant (in a larger place he would have been called docent) and a middle aged woman walking the isles looking at old parade pictures. The attendant started to explain the exhibit when the woman quickly introduced herself as a past parade Queen. She went on to say that, even though she had moved quite some distance away she and many of the other past festival queens always tried to return for the event. I can only wonder if the current crop will be as devoted.
While there were no high tech demonstrations, big name artists, or other fancy stuff, it was really fun. Perhaps it was this lack of glitz that made it so enjoyable. It was real small town Americana in action. Something I fear is disappearing fast in our fast moving, high tech world.