Heritage Festival leads active weekend schedule

Authored by Jim Langham on Sep 7, 2012

The annual Heritage Festival will lead a full card of activities around town this weekend. The popular festival will be held at Swiss Heritage Village and Museum from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $3 for adults and $1 for students kindergarten through senior year.
Also on Saturday, a Litfest, held at the Swiss Clock Tower from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., will showcase writing talents of local writers. Various speeches will be given reflecting the talents of local writers. During the same time, Das Marit Market will be providing opportunities for vendors to sell local vegetables and fruit as well as local crafts. At that time, Agape Respite will be selling chicken dinners in the Mennonite Church parking lot.
One of the new activities at this year's Heritage Festival will be Swiss-German lessons taught by Debby Neuenschwander.
"I'm excited about people having the opportunity to experience our heritage language," said Neuenschwander. "It's not just the language, the whole experience gives the opportunity to get a deep feel for our heritage and culture, as well as the native language."
Other new activities this year will include Native American crafts, kettle corn demonstration, a Native American and tomahawk thrower.
Returning favorites include the animal farm, chicken noodle soup, ham and bean soup, Pumpkin Kingdom, and cider slushies. At 3 p.m., will be the big squeeze from the large cider press.
"I'm excited about the chance to impact with a little bit of Swiss German to these kids," said Neuenschwander. "To open up another language is always an exciting thing.
"It is the Germans who built the cabin in the woods," continued Neuenschwander. "It was the language spoken in the cabin. There is an exchange student who is German who is going to be a part of all of this."
Sara Stauffer, who played a major role in planning this year's festival, likes the wide spectrum of activities, educational experiences and demonstrations.
"This is a great opportunity to give students a feel for this," said Stauffer.
Entertainment at this year's event will include the Harmony String Band, Asbury Bells, Civil War musical group, and Jay County Community Band. Food will be provided by Hoosier Que Daddy, Boy Scout Troup 67 of Berne, Stutzman's homemade ice cream and Pumpkin Kingdom.
The annual Education Day is being held today. Students from several school districts will include nearly 1,700 students from six counties in Indiana and two in Ohio.
As always, the annual Education Day provides students first-hand knowledge of our cultural heritage by promoting learning through discovery as they tour historic buildings and play games enjoyed by their ancestors.
"Everything we do on Friday will be hands on to help students have an enjoyable experience of feeling what things were like," said Stauffer. "As they have an actual experience with the times, connections are made.
"They've been told about things, what things used to be like. They get a different perspective of what things used to be like," said Stauffer.

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