New Glarus is a town of festivals, with some eight over the course of the warm months. This weekend is Heidi Fest. (Not to be confused with the William Tell Festival, because a Swiss town really can't have too many celebrations of Switzerland!)
Unfortunately, the celebration began with a community presentation of Heidi at the local high school. Don't get me wrong- it's a sweet enough story. But the production was anything but sweet. As someone who's directed productions in the past, the acting was atrocious, and the directing not much better. It was easy to see where improvements could have been made. The 4th grade child playing Heidi did a better job for her age than most of the participants, but everything was at the level of what you'd expect in a junior-high play. Not being able to hear the loud whispers of the woman with the cue cards would have helped. There were a couple notable exceptions, such as how we saw the obvious theatrical training of the woman playing the mean Miss Rottenmeier. But largely, the high point for the audience was when the live goat began to chew on the rope near the end of the two hours. The rope was attached to a large Swiss bell, and we all began silently to cheer the goat on, hoping against hope of some relief from the tedium. We were finally rewarded with the clear dulcet tones of the bell. But it bodes not well when the best acting is done by the goat.
The next day I made my way to the main square, where the dancing, crafts, and music were. On the way I discovered that New Glarus has it's own Ents.
At the festival there was a delightful presentation of bell ringing, though unfortunately their drumming accompaniment left something to be desired, so it was not recorded. (This is not to speak ill. Keeping a beat is often the hardest part of an orchestra, and the drummer has to be that much better a drummer than any other instrumentalist.)
I was happy to see a live goat next to the cheese table, and across the way some Naughty Dolls.
Yes, I wondered about that myself. I think the woman selling them doesn't realize the modern connotation for the old appellation. What it actually means is dolls without faces but only hair, designed to look like they're standing in the corner. Trust me- that's not what you'll get if you Google "Naughty Dolls". (And may I say, dolls without faces, for me, is more "Scary Dolls"?)
Another booth at the festival had these amazing bottles, reheated to 1500 degrees and melted, turned in to beautiful wind chimes. I spoke with the proprietor, Creative Touch, about bringing back some of the Mountain Dew and Coke bottles in Arabic from my trip to Yemen in a month, perhaps even a couple extra for him to sell to others.
Towards evening there was dancing, but because of a spot of rain, hardly anyone came out. When I stopped by around seven, they were playing a series of songs with little kids dancing to them. Sadly, one of them was "Little Willy" by the British band The Sweet. I say sadly, for I have not been able to get it out of my head, and if you know anything of British culture, and are aware that the band is British, the song takes on wholly new connotations.
The end of a day was a treat of sunset over New Glarus, looking over the police station and town hall from the hill of the old United Church of Christ church, going back to 1850.