Festival goers brave rain at 36th Heritage Day in Silverhill


SILVERHILL — Despite the rain, festival goers came out Saturday, Sept. 18 to the 36th Annual Heritage Day in Silverhill.

The Silverhill Heritage Day committee announced Friday that it would go ahead with the festival, despite the threat of storms caused by the remnants of Hurricane Nicholas.

About 60 arts and crafts vendors were scheduled to set up along Alabama 104 and most appeared to be in place as residents donned raincoats and umbrellas to stop and shop with local vendors and enjoy meals from a variety of food trucks.

This year’s parade with Grand Marshal Lamar Giles, which was set to roll at 10 a.m., was canceled because of rain and could be rescheduled for December, officials said.

First established in 1982 to celebrate the town’s heritage, primarily Swedish and Czech, the festival was last held in April of 2019. Plans for the 2020 festival were put on hold because of COVID-19 concerns.

The town of Silverhill was founded in 1896 under the direction of Oscar Johnson, head of the Svea Land Company from Chicago, and two other men, C.O. Carlson and C.P. Valentine. Early Swedish colonists celebrated the popular Scandinavian holiday Mid-Summer Fest, first-mention of which in the town’s history can be found as early as 1904.

After holding the festival for years on the third Saturday in September, the decision was made not to hold the festival in September of 2016 and move it to April of 2017 where it remained for three years.

The Festival was also canceled in 2005 after Hurricane Ivan in 2004 caused extensive damage to many of the town’s oak trees which lined Main Street (the festival was briefly moved to Havel Park).