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Helvetia Fair set for this weekend

September 7, 2012
The Inter-Mountain

The Helvetia Fair always lands on the second weekend in September, is this year it's set from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

On Saturday, the Alpine Parade will start at 2 p.m., while Swiss music and dancers, alp horns and yodeling will take place during the day.

Square dancing will get under way at 9 p.m. Saturday and go until midnight at the Community Hall. Admission is $5 for adults. Children 12 and younger will be admitted for $2. The Helvetia Star Band headed up by Joe McEnroy will provide music and elder fiddler Vernon Burky will join in.

Local square dance callers will guide participants through big circle square dances. All dances are beginner friendly and the dance hall will be packed.

"I have always loved the entertainment at the fair, the folk dancing and yodeling," said Eleanor Betler of Helvetia, who is looking forward to the Helvetia Fair this year. "The fair square dance is usually a pretty big dance with a couple hundred people attending, and it's just wonderful."

Tourists and locals alike dance waltzes, polkas, mountain circle square dances and the Helvetia Polka, a schottische.

There will be refreshments at the Community Hall, and the Hutte Restaurant will serve bratwurst, fresh bread, peach cobbler and other delicious Swiss food.

Square dances also occur on the first Saturday of every month in Helvetia throughout the year, and for special events to celebrate Fasnacht, the Helvetia Ramp Supper, Helvetia Day and the Swiss National Holiday.

Originally settled by Swiss immigrants, Helvetia has held on to its Swiss identity through food, festivals, music and dancing. Mountain circle square dances are mixed with waltzes, polkas and always include the Helvetia Polka, a schottische. Local callers instruct from the floor and the Helvetia Star Band provides music. A short walk from the dance hall takes visitors to the Hutte, a restaurant where great Swiss food has been served since its founder, Eleanor Mailloux, started serving more than 40 years ago.

Directions: From Elkins, motorists can follow U.S. 250 south to Mill Creek and make a left on the Helvetia-Adolph Road, County Route 46; follow to Helvetia. From points west, motorists can take Route 20 to the Alexander-Helvetia Road, County Route 11; follow to Helvetia.

The Community Hall is located on the Helvetia-Pickens Road.

To learn more about events in Helvetia - including the fair - anyone interested can visit

Helvetia is part of the Mountain Dance Trail, a project organized by the Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College. Dances take place in a range of communities throughout the state, including Ireland in Lewis County, Riverton in Pendleton County, Dunmore in Pocahontas County and others.

A full schedule of square dances within West Virginia is available online at or in the Mountain Dance Trail brochure. Information also is available by calling 304-637-1349.



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