Live music, historical demonstrations, crafts, food, and more can be found at the Swiss Celebration on July 29, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Stoker-Stampfli Farm Museum.
For 43 years, the Swiss community in Gruetli-Laager has entertained locals and visitors at their annual Swiss Celebration. Beginning in 1974, at Swiss Memorial Elementary School, the community invited attendees to enjoy live music, demonstrations, a potluck dinner, and dancing. Historical documents were on view, documenting the history of the community back to its founding in 1869. However, growing crowds resulted in the Grundy County Swiss Historical Society moving the event to the Stoker-Stampfli Farm in 2001.
The farm (now the Stoker-Stampfli Farm Museum) spreads over 30 acres of farmland with a main house, a big barn, a wagon and shed shop, a smoke/cheese house , a music stand, a corn shed, a one-room log cabin, and a caretaker’s cottage. A large pavilion was recently constructed with help from the South Cumberland Community Fund.
The farm was donated to the Historical Society by Rose Marie Stampfli, the last family owner of the property. She had served as secretary and treasurer for the society until her death in 1974. The buildings, many of which date to 1869, are maintained by the society with help from local organizations such as Mountain Top. Last summer, a Boy Scout troop from Texas visited the farm, cleaning the cheese house and the shed.
In addition to the Swiss Celebration, the farm is in use throughout the year for weddings, photography, reunions, birthday parties, and school group visits. It is a popular historical site for anyone interested in an old country farm and the formation of the Swiss Colony in Gruetli-Laager.