Bustling crowds gathered as Swiss flags and painted cows lined the streets during Santa Clara’s Swiss Days celebration held on Thursday, Sept. 26, through Saturday, Sept. 29, in downtown Santa Clara, Utah.
The annual event commemorates the Swiss who settled the area in 1861. This year’s three-day celebration began with the opening ceremony and community dinner on Thursday evening at city hall. The main festivities were in full swing Friday afternoon through Saturday evening.
This year’s activities included a silent auction, parade, a 5k run, live music performances by community members and a wide selection of vendors and booths for shopping.
In addition to the activities at city hall, pioneer arts and crafts activities for children were held at Heritage Square with the Red Rocks Car Show held at Canyon View Park.
“It’s got that ‘hometown’ feel and has activities for all ages,” said Santa Clara resident Kathy Hall. “It makes you feel like everybody belongs.”
For other residents of southern Utah, the event is about more than the festivities. Local author and Santa Clara resident Lyman Hafen shared his connection to the original Swiss settlers of 1861 as he sold his new book to attendees.
“While Swiss Days exemplifies community spirit and makes it an awesome place to live, it means much more than that to me,” Hafen said. “My great-great-grandfather was one of the first Swiss settlers here and it’s a good way to honor him.”
Hafen also noted that as he spoke with attendees, many didn’t realize they have roots and family connections to Santa Clara.
A unique feature of this year’s event was a children’s contest to name the characters in the city hall’s glockenspiel clock tower installed prior to the 2017 Swiss Days.
Like many clock towers in Switzerland and Europe, the city hall’s features a glockenspiel that plays traditional Swiss music while figurines spin around and “dance.” Each hour after the chime of the bells, the glockenspiel opens and plays Swiss tunes in homage to the rich heritage of the city—a heritage that will ring into the future.
For more information about Santa Clara City and the Swiss Days events, click here.
Story by: Kaden Smith
Photos by: Kaden Smith