Heritage comes alive at annual Swiss Days celebration

SANTA CLARA – In 1861, Swiss pioneers came to Southern Utah and settled along the Santa Clara River. Now, nearly 150 years later, their legacy is commemorated by Santa Clara locals in the aptly named Swiss Days celebration.
 
This Friday and Saturday, Sept. 24 and 25, Santa Clara’s Town Hall and Heritage Park will come alive with activities and entertainment the whole family can enjoy. Included on this list are: Heritage Displays, in which traditions and handicrafts of the early Swiss settlers are showcased; the Santa Clara Cow Review, where people can cast their vote for the best, decorated cow that lines the town’s main street; the Red Rock car show, a 5k run/walk, and of course, the Swiss Days Parade.
 
“We have a great parade,” said Swiss Days coordinator, Kathleen Nielson. She noted that while the parade is among the celebration’s more popular attractions, that there is still much more that Swiss Days has to offer, like the Oral History Event. Here, venerable seniors of the community share their memories of an earlier Santa Clara. Among the times recalled by the speakers will be those surrounding an all-girls softball team from the 1940s, local cowboys, and the aftermath of the Second World War and its impact on returning veterans. 
 
Swiss Days doesn’t lack for entertainment either, as it features local and regional musicians, as well as bringing in a new act for the first time, internationally famed alpine yodeler Kerry Christensen. Christenson will be performing on both Friday and Saturday.
 
There will also be the Children’s Stage out in front of the Santa Clara Town Hall where the young ones can learn the chicken dance, take part in a yodeling contest, and watch puppet shows.
 
“We’re very family oriented,” Nielson said. She also said that another aspect of what draws people to Santa Clara’s Swiss Days was the location of the event. There’s something appealing about how the main street cuts through the center of the town and large trees line either side, providing shade most of the way. Reflecting on that image, Nielson said of people who visit Santa Clara that, “it really feels like [their] home town.”
 
For more information on the time and location of Santa Clara’s Swiss Days, visit http://www.santaclaracityutah.com/cityinfo/swissdays/info.asp.

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