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Helvetia planning Fasnacht celebration

The Inter-Mountain file photo by Kristi Groves ‘Old Man Winter’ meets his demise at Fasnacht in Helvetia during last year’s celebration. The annual event takes place before the beginning of Lent, and this year’s day full of activities is scheduled Feb. 10.

HELVETIA — The village of Helvetia will be celebrating Fasnacht this year on Feb. 10.

Fasnacht is the Swiss equivalent of Mardi Gras in New Orleans or Carnivale in Rio. It is a time of celebration before the beginning of Lent.

In Switzerland, the annual celebration takes place on “Fat Tuesday,” the day before Ash Wednesday, however in Helvetia, community members traditionally host festivities on the Saturday prior to Ash Wednesday.

Some participants wear masks, which are meant to scare off “Old Man Winter” and cold weather.

The Helvetia Restoration and Development Organization sponsors this event.

The schedule of events is as follows:

• 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.: Helvetia Mask Museum and General Store are open in the Kultur Haus Helvetia.

• 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.: Open mic, Star Band Hall.

• 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.: Sampler plate served all day at the Hutte Restaurant.

• 8:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.: Lampion (candlelight) parade, Star Band Hall to Community Hall.

• 8:45 p.m. to 9 p.m.: Judging costumes, with prizes, Community Hall.

• 9 p.m. to midnight: Masked Ball, Community Hall.

• Midnight to 1 a.m.: Burning Old Man Winter, outside Community Hall.

There is an admission charge for the dance. Those 10 and younger will not be charged. The dance will begin with costume judging. Traditional Appalachian music will be provided by the Helvetia Star Band.

More information is available online at http://helvetiawv.com.