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Wilhelm Tell Festival Goes On With a Little Help From Friends


September 6, 2018

Sue Moen

Since 1938, the story of Wilhelm Tell has been celebrated on Labor Day Weekend in New Glarus. Since 1953, the presentation of the play was held at the Tell grounds, east of the Village of New Glarus on CTH W. This year the weather was uncooperative with heavy rain Saturday morning, causing the cancellation of the play. On Sunday, the Tell Board met at the Tell Grounds and decided that for the safety of the cast, animals, visitors and grounds the play could not be held there. However, thanks to the generosity of Randy and Sherry Dreger, the play was presented inside the newly opened Fest Haus on 3rd Avenue. The producers made a few changes in order to be able bring the play inside, but the presentation went on as scheduled with no admission fee, simply a free will offering. Food and refreshments were also available.

The Wilhelm Tell Festival kicked off on Friday evening with the Kinderchor celebrating 20 years of helping to keep Swiss traditions alive. There was also a Yodel showcase for all ages. The Kindorchor concert and Yodel Showcase performances were held on the Swiss United Church of Christ lawn. Wrapping up Friday evening was the traditional Lanternenzug (Children's Lantern Parade) that this year took place on the sidewalks.

Saturday began with heavy rain and the announcement that the afternoon performance of the Tell Play would be cancelled.

Sue Moen

On Saturday evening, the Wilhelm Tell Alpine Music Showcase was presented free of charge at the Fest Haus. There were a number of musical performers including the New Glarus Mannerchor, the Jodler Club, Tony Zgraggen, and Kay Gmur and Nancy Streiff. Following the Alpine Showcase the Street Dance was held on 3rd Avenue, in front of Fest Haus.

On Sunday morning, the Art in Park event was held with visitors checking out local art. The Friends of the New Glarus Library also held their annual Book Sale in the Community Room at Village Hall.

By 10:00 a.m. it was announced that due to the wet conditions the play would be moved to the Fest Haus. Despite the late notice, the play was well attended.

More photos from the weekend are available to view in the Photo Gallery:


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