Quaint Beginnings Of Swiss Days

The Evolution of A Tradition

As the crowds have grown, Swiss Days has struggled to find balance between the spirit of community celebration and the reality of a world-class production. Some worry that the spirit of it has gotten lost somewhere along the way.

Finding That Balance

When asked whether the Swiss Days Executive Committee takes this balance into consideration, Chairman Randy Bradley responds, “All. The. Time.”

“There are some people who would love to take it back, make it smaller, make it more simple,” he explains. But making it smaller isn’t that simple. “If we were to try to take it back, I’m worried we would actually kill a large part of it.”

The committee’s solution? Stay the course. “We decided that we want to avoid making any changes that will make it grow. It’s about as big as it can get and we just want to keep it the same. I believe that naturally, if we do that, it will stop growing.”

The committee works hard to keep the event accessible for locals and encourages vendors from the Heber Valley. It’s also trying to keep food prices down. “Even when the cost of getting food to the event changes, we try to keep the prices for visitors the same,” Randy says. “We try to keep them as low as we can.”

In terms of preserving the Swiss theme, he says it’s pretty straightforward. “We have a really simple universal answer to anything that is too outlandish or too far from the theme: ‘No,’” he explains. “We want to keep the unique feel to Swiss Days.”

Keeping The Spirit Alive

That unique feel is what Randy calls “the spirit of Swiss Days.” CarolLee explains it as the spirit of coming together and working hard, of serving side by side with neighbors and being involved in the community. In that sense, the spirit of Swiss Days is just as alive as it was in 1947.

Though bigger and louder than its quaint beginnings, Swiss Days still has that spirit of service. What began as a harvest festival and farmers market, and gradually shifted into the celebration of Midway’s unique Swiss heritage, has evolved into a testament to the best tendencies of our community. These values are the things we should cling to because they’re what makes this event — and our valley — so special.

“Community unity,” Randy explains, “It bonds us together. It’s what Heber Valley is all about.”

I am a stubborn individual. Many times I have pondered whether this character attribute is, in fact, a virtue or a vice. I can see how being persistent in certain circumstances has led me to personal success. I can also see instances where my refusal to alter a course has brought unnecessary hardship to my life. I suppose the answer lies somewhere within the fabled words of Kenny Rogers in that you need to “know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away and know when to run.”

Life is a gamble these days. The status quo that we knew — even one year ago — no longer exists. The paradigm is shifting to an undefined end. In our current social, political, and economic environment: victories are most often rewarded to those with the most flexibility. However, change is intimidating; and just like a game of cards, making the wrong choice can set you back farther than where you started. The weight of deciding how and when to change any variable of your life can be paralyzing. How does one determine when it is most prudent to stay the course or make a change?

Start by prioritizing regular time for personal introspection. Quiet and meditative time can open windows into your deeper self. I believe that there is a light within our consciousness that (being unaffected by all things temporal) can help us see how things are instead of how they appear. All you have to do is slow yourself down and detach from the world enough to catch a glimpse of that wisdom and light.

Ponder your situation and derive an implementable solution. There is little good in taking on problems that are outside of your sphere of influence. I turn to the oft-quoted ‘Serenity Prayer’ when mitigating stress or anxiety created by things that “I cannot change.”

God grant me the SERENITY to accept the things I cannot change, COURAGE to change the things I can, and WISDOM to know the difference.

Reinhold Niebuhr, American Theologian, 1951

Sins of omission are real. With that stated: it is imperative to recognize that you, as an individual, have little to no control over certain things. Understanding this will help in prioritizing what an implementable change is and what it is not. If the ailment is something that you cannot do anything about — emotionally letting go of that thing could be the exact change needed to find your center again.

When looking to make the world a better place, it is imperative to get your foundation in order first. Make those changes in your own life that will allow you to be a shining example to others first. If you can define your unique personal values: you develop a base of support that will enable you to share yourself with others.

Strength and leadership principles originate in the home. The next place to implement change is at the family level. Strive to create harmony within the relationships that matter most. When outside personal and professional networks see a caring and confident human being with all of their personal affairs in order — they will be more inclined to hear your message.

My challenge to the Heber Valley is to make 2021 a better year than it’s predecessor. We have virtually no control over natural disasters, disease, or pestilence. We may not have much influence at the Federal or State levels of government. However, every individual CAN make changes that will affect their strength and happiness. You can choose to find gratitude in an environment ripe with fear and disaster. We can all positively influence those people that we interact with daily. That is within our control.

Thank you for supporting Heber Valley Life magazine. We live in the best mountain community in the American West. It is my genuine pleasure to highlight those that make it so every season of the year.