Swiss Days to bring 100,000 to Midway this weekend
Swiss Days will take over Midway Sept. 1 and 2 with 100,000 people expected to attend what the Utah Office of Tourism says is Utah's second-largest festival.
At first glance, Swiss Days can appear like just another festival with more than 200 craft booths, a parade, live entertainment, a 10K and food. But take a deeper look and you’ll see an entire community that comes together.
Swiss Days is a commemoration of the town’s original settlers from Switzerland. Clair Provost is a fifth-generation Midway resident who said things have changed a bit from the old days.
“Some of the guys would go up on the hill, shoot a couple of deer, bring them down, roast the meat from the deer, that would be their meat and then all the ladies would bring side dishes and whatnot," said Provost. "It started as a community celebration to bring the community together.”
So, how does Provost feel about this large-scale celebration today? He said though Swiss Days has grown, it still unifies the community, which is a tough thing to do today.
His reasoning? Residents put in thousands of volunteer hours. Part of the proceeds go to the Midway Boosters and another part goes to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Humanitarian Fund. Last year, the money raised bought generators for several Ukrainian hospitals.
The Swiss Miss royalty are arguably the most recognizable faces you’ll see at Midway Town Square. These pint-size performers range in age from 9 to 13. This year’s Swiss Miss Sadie Beagley said she and her four attendants serve as ambassadors of Midway all year.
“I really wanted to be a Swiss Miss because my mom was a Swiss Miss," said Beagley. "And it's kind of like a family legacy I want to carry on. And I just love Midway so much. I was born and raised here."
The Swiss Miss royalty will be among the many Swiss-themed performers at the festival and these young ladies have picked up some new talents like yodeling along the way.
Food is another important part of Midway’s Swiss Days traditions.
Russell Knight is Swiss Days’ longtime “Dough Boy.” He makes 10,000 pounds of dough over two days for the popular scone and Swiss taco booths.
“It’s a lot of work and the fact that it’s all volunteer, it just speaks to me," said Knight. "I love the spirit of it. I love that year-after-year there’s always something that happens and then it just works out. Every Time it works out.”
Other foodie favorites include Swiss cookies called Bratzelis and “Swiss” bread sold at the Relief Society booth. Residents have been baking all week, like longtime local Andrea Frisby. She's known for her serious bread braiding skills and this is why. “Well, when you are born and raised in Wasatch County, it’s just ingrained in you.”
All ingredients that bring a community together.