Celebrating Our Swiss Heritage!
The Berne Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that it will be hosting the 2016 Swiss Days Festival, an annual celebration of Berne’s Swiss heritage, on July 28-30. The Swiss Days Opening Ceremony will take place on the downtown stage at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 28, 2016.
You may want to start your day in downtown Berne, where you’ll find merchants selling their wares at the old-fashioned “sidewalk sale.” The wide selection and variety that comes with our vendors guarantee everything from crafts and antiques to clothing apparel for the whole family. You can relax near the downtown stage to the sounds of local talent and genuine Swiss performers while munching on mouth-watering Swiss food, such as bratwurst and apple dumplings, .
Continue your day at First Mennonite Church, located on US 27 and 218 in Berne. Here you can admire a great variety of quilts at the Quilt Show. The Quilt Show contains many exciting elements! This year’s Quilt Show includes a quilt challenge, raffle quilt, kid’s category, and a display by three featured guild members. The 2016 Swiss Days Quilt Challenge- “ Pin Cushions” Get creative! There is no size restriction or material restriction. It doesn’t have to be quilted. Think outside the box, or in it. Make it a one of a kind or one of dozens. Will it have other uses too? Make your ultimate dream pin cushion. Recycle products or buy new. It is totally up to you. Have fun and bring us that totally tempting pin cushion.
History will come to life as the story of our Swiss beginnings unfolds atSwiss Heritage Village on the north edge of Berne. The village has grown to become the largest indoor/outdoor historical museum in northern Indiana, consisting of 15 historical buildings built between the years of 1860 and 1900, and has recently added an indoor historical museum.
If the simple ways of our Amish friends intrigue you, then head on down to Amishville, USA. Here you will find guided tours of an authentic Amish home, buggy ride, and camping. You can also enjoy a snack at the Amishville Grille.
Competitions are always a fun part of the Swiss Days Festival! One of the most popular and definitely the most “Swiss” is the traditional Steintoss competition, which has competitors throwing a heavy stone similar to that of a shot put. This year’s Steintoss will feature levels of competition, for both men and women alike.
Other competitions includes a cornhole tournament, sidewalk chalk competition, recliner race, grape stomp, cheese carving contest, baby crawl contest, bowling, tennis, and sand sculpting tournaments, as well as the Kiddie Pedal Tractor Pull, and the Big Wheels Race. The popular First Bank of Berne Swiss Days Race will celebrate its 43rd anniversary this year, which involves a 5,000-meter race for ages 12-up and a 1-mile race for 11-under.
Coming to our festival this year will be Beers & Jessops Amusement Rides who will offer many exciting carnival rides throughout Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
As always, this year’s festival will feature a wide array of nightly musical talent. The Ken & Mary Accordians will be performing on Thursday night. The Klaberheads, will perform on Friday.
The traditional downtown parade will be featured on Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m.
As you can see, there is much to experience in our Swiss community during the 2016 Swiss Days Festival! Berne is located just 35 miles southeast of Fort Wayne and 130 miles northeast of Indianapolis. Come join the celebration! Write for your free Swiss Days 2016 brochure c/o Berne Chamber of Commerce, 205 E. Main St., Berne, IN 46711, call 260-589-8080, email us at tourism, check us out on our Berne website at www.bernein.com.
2016 Children’s Activities
Big Wheel Race
The Swiss Days Big Wheel Race, sponsored by The Boys & Girls Club of Adams County, is back again! Children ages 3-6 are invited to participate and must ride the Big Wheels provided.
It will be held on Saturday, July 30 at 10:00 a.m. on Baltimore Street beside the Cross Community Church in downtown Berne. The race will feature young children from ages 3-6 in a 25-meter race to the finish on big wheels racecars. Registration will be the day of the race and there will be a $5.00 entry fee.
For more information, please contact the Boys & Girls Club at 260-589-8365 in Berne or 260-724-9128 in Decatur.
Kid’s Tractor Pull
A fun children’s competition featured at this year’s Swiss Days is the annual “Kid’s Tractor Pull,” which will be sponsored this year by the Adams Central FFA. This contest involves small pedal-type tractors pulling weights.
The competition will be held downtown on Baltimore Street beside the Cross Community Church in downtown Berne. Starting time is 9:00 a.m. on Friday, July 29 with finals at noon. An entry of $1.00 per pull and registration form signed by a parent or guardian is required. Forms will be available at the site.
Sand Sculpture Competition
Now in its 33rd year, Pine Lake is hosting their annual “Sand Sculpture Competition” on Saturday, July 30 from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Pine Lake is located just 3½ miles west of Berne on the south side of State Road 218.
This year’s sand sculpture competition will feature, as always, sand and water—the creative ability to mold these two simple mediums is what makes a winning sand sculpture. In Pine Lake’s annual competition, contestants will form playful shapes on the beach, competing against other sculptors for the 2016 first place prize. In past years, contestants have molded the Michigan sand into elaborate shapes of dinosaurs, shoes, mermaids, sharks, and of course, sand castles. This July’s contest will again test the creative talents of “sand artists” as they sculpt and design using a variety of tools with the exception of pre-designed molds.
All entries will be judged upon the sculpture’s originality, general appearance, and artistic impression. Prizes will be awarded to the first, second, and third place winners within each of the three divisions. Consolation prizes will be awarded to all registered contestants. All teams must be present at the judging in order to receive their prize.
The actual sculpture building will be from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. with judging from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Admission to get into Pine Lake is $7.00 for individuals 10 years and up and $6.00 for children 4-9. There is no additional charge for participating in the sculpture contest. For more information, please call Pine Lake at (260) 334-5649.
Beers & Jessops Amusement Rides
Beers & Jessops Amusement Rides will be at this years Swiss Days festival. Along with cotton candy and caramel apples, Beers & Jessops will provide numerous carnival rides for children of all ages. They will be open all festival long, beginning on Thursday, July 28 at 5:00 p.m.
Presale tickets are available now until Thursday, July 28 until 3:00pm, at the First Bank of Berne (222 Heritage Trail). Presale tickets will be 24 for $15.00. Tickets during the Swiss Days festival will be slightly more. Also, bracelets will be available for Thursday night only and can be purchased from Beers & Jessops Amusement Rides.