In 2019, Becky Hill and T-Claw collaborated to present the first Helvetia Hoot! It's goal was to bring together people from all over the region to celebrate West Virginia and pass down traditions from masters to future generations. The mini-weekend festival is designed to interest just about anyone willing to be somewhat off the grid. You can come dabble in square dance calling, try your hand at natural dying, shuffle your feet in a dance workshop, learn to bake without written recipes, or just soak up the beauty of Helvetia. There are currently 28 varied workshop offerings being planned for all experience levels including family focused activities.
“Helvetia is a magical place. My first visit was for the 2015 Dare to Be Square. I could not believe I was still in Randolph county. It was beautiful, welcoming, and a super idyllic spot for a traditional square dance convergence. The local community seemed happy to host. As a participant, I absorbed the stories and culture while becoming friends with some of my favorite old timers. Becky enlisted my help, since I now live in Elkins. We thought it would be fun to broaden the scope of the event to feature activities for friends and family in addition to the 24/7 dance and music experience. Hence the re-branding, ‘Helvetia Hoot!’ ” ~T. Claw, Organizer and Dance Caller from Nashville, TN.
Workshop schedule to be announced soon. We are still in the process of lining up a cast of fantastic instructors. Highlights so far include Gospel Singing, WV Style Square Dances, Percussive Dance, Biscuit Making, WV Fiddle Tunes, Line Dancing, Gender Free Dance Calling and more. Music, dance, craft, folklore and foodways yet to be determined! Stay tuned for updates.
Event check-in will run from 3-8pm on Friday and 8:45 - 10:15am on Saturday at the Community Hall. There are no ATMs or banks near Helvetia. Plan ahead and bring cash with you to purchase lunch from the Helvetia Farm Women & to support the Hutte, and Swiss Roots Country Store.
Advanced: $50 Regular: $70 (beginning Sept 1) Rustic camping is sliding scale $20-$40. FREE for kids under 17 years of age.
VOLUNTEER: Please let us know if you can't come due to not being able to afford the admission price. There are several volunteer opportunities available for partial and full tuition. There are also several scholarships available to eager beginning callers!
Public Nightly Dances start around 7 or 8pm in the Community Hall. Admission is $10 (for adults not registered for the weekend). Friday – Jesse Milnes & Friends Saturday – Bobby Taylor, Kim Johnson, & Friends. Featuring a Circle Up Zine Release Party! The Circle Up Zine was sponsored the Mid-Atlantic Arts Central Appalachia Living Traditions Grant, CDSS, & Bluegrass Pride.
Rooms are available for rent. They go fast once the event is announced. Swiss Roots: (304) 924-9100 Beekeeper Inn:304-924-6435 To reserve a room please tell them you are with “Dare to be Square/Helvetia Hoot”.
Rustic camping is sliding scale $20-$40. No showers are available There is a small creek to play around in. There are real restrooms within walking distance of the camping area.
Be warned that GPS can be wonky on your way to Helvetia. I recommend cross referencing your GPS with these directions below. Most cell phones will not get reception in Helvetia. --From Elkins: Take Route 219 to 250 South for 16 miles to Mill Creek. In Mill Creek Turn Right on County Route 46 (Helvetia Road). Go 20 Miles to Helvetia. --From Buckhannon: Take Route 20 South for 12 miles to the West Virginia Wildlife Center. Turn Left onto County Route 11 (Alexander Helvetia Road). Go 20 Miles to Helvetia.
Friday September 15th Hutte Restaurant open 12-6pm (reservations recommended) Saturday September 16th Breakfast: We will have coffee & oatmeal available Lunch: Lasagna, Salad, Breadsticks & a dessert available for purchase, $15 a plate, from the Helvetia Farm Women. Vegetarian option available. All proceeds go to the Helvetia Farm Women, they do incredible volunteer work in Helvetia. Please support them. Dinner: POTLUCK at 6:30pm (please bring a dish to share) Hutte Restaurant open 12-6pm (reservations recommended)
Sunday September 17th Breakfast: We will have coffee & oatmeal available Brunch: On your own. Hutte will be closed. Snacks, beer, t-shirts, honey, maple, jam, postcards and other small items are available on Friday & Saturday at the Swiss Roots General Store/Post Office. There is no ATM, gas station or large grocery store in Helvetia. There is a gas station down the road in Pickens.
ACCESSIBILITY & SAFETY
We encourage everyone to COVID test prior to coming, if you happen to pull a positive test the day of the event, we ask you to stay home, and we will refund you in full.
Masks and hand sanitizer will be available at the check-in desk throughout the weekend. As will COVID tests if you begin to have any symptoms.
The Community Hall, the main dance hall, has wheelchair access via a ramp, as does the Star Band Hall. Rustic Camping does not offer such accommodations, however several local bed & breakfasts / airbnb locations may be able to offer wheelchair access. Please reach out to organizers for more information.
Hard of Hearing / Deaf Accommodations
We will unfortunately not be able to provide ASL interpretation and do not have the capability to livestream this event.
Low Vision / Blindness Accommodations
We will unfortunately not be able to provide low vision / blindness accommodations.
For the Saturday evening community potluck we ask everyone to please label the ingredients used in their dish to accommodate dietary restrictions.
In order for beloved community members with chemical sensitivities to attend, please don't use fragranced products.
If a need arises for a quiet space to decompress, there are several options within the town of Helvetia, including the Helvetia Public Library.
Chairs will be available in all event spaces for people to rest
If there are other ways we can make this event accessible to you, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will make efforts to accommodate your needs.