Helvetia, WV
Fasnacht
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Photo of Belly Dancer at the HutteFasnacht is the pre-lenten burning of Old Man Winter. It occurs on the Saturday before Ash Wednesday and is likened to Mardi Gras. It has its roots in the Swiss Winterfest.

2015 Photo Album 2014 Photo Album 2013 Photo Album
2012 Photo Album 2011 Photo Album 2010 Photo Album
2009 Photo Album 2008 Photo Album 2007 Photo Album

Download a printable poster from Fasnacht 2008 (in PDF Format).

Saturday afternoon features food, beverages, and open mic music in the Star Band (Red) Hall, a sampler plate at the Hutte restaurant, and browsing in the local shops. Masks from previous Fasnachts are featured at the Fasnacht Mask Museum. A parade featuring large, often frightening, and quite artistic masks travels from the Star Band (Red) Hall to the Community Hall where the costumes are judged and the square dance begins. At the end of the square dance,.the efigy of Old Man Winter is cut down from the ceiling of the Community Hall, carried on the shoulders of the celebrants to the bonfire outside, and burned to signal the end of Winter.

The warming effect is not immediate and visitors should wear plenty of clothing so they can enjoy the outdoor activites.

Very ugly maskA typical schedule is:

  • 10:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. Helvetia Mask Museum and General Store are open in Kultur Haus Helvetia.
  • 11:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. Sampler Plate- Hutte Restaurant.
    3:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Open Mic, food, and beverages. Star Band (Red) Hall.
  • 7:30 p.m. - Kid's Mask Judging at Community Hall. Toys, snacks, and dancing. 
  • 8:00 p.m. - 8:15 p.m. Lampion (candlelight) parade - Star Band Hall to Community Hall.
  • 8:15 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. Mask Judging and Masquerade Ball. Community Hall. $10 per person.
  • 11:00 a.m. - 11:30 p.m. Burning Old man Winter - outside Community Hall.

There are a number of links to Fasnacht pages. The event has been covered by local and national media.