HELVETIA, W.Va. (WBOY) — For its sixth year, “Helvetia Hoot” has introduced beloved West Virginian traditions to anyone who wanders out to the rural, historic community.
Natives of West Virginia may be familiar with Helvetia, though there’s a good chance you may have not visited the community before as the 2020 U.S. census states the community held a total population of 38 at the time.
Despite its size, Helvetia is rich in culture and history as the community was formed back in 1869 by Swiss and German immigrants. Through time, history and tradition have held strong thanks to the natives of the community and the holding of events like Helvetia Hoot.
Helvetia Hoot is a weekend-long “mountain music and dance campout” that happens once a year where people are invited to travel to the community of Helvetia, camp out and learn about life in rural West Virginia.
This year, Helvetia Hoot welcomed 140 participants, including international travelers from Canada and France.
A few of the activities included allow participants to learn how to square dance, how to call for square dancing, make paper, can food and try traditional cuisines of the cultures and area.
12 News spoke with the founder of Helvetia Hoot, Becky Hill, about the inspiration behind the event and its importance.
“Our hope is that people kind of realize that these traditions are alive and thriving and maybe they want to learn how to can or maybe they want to learn how to call square dances when they go back home to their community or want to flat foot or something like that. What I really love about it is that it’s really an intergenerational mix, I think our youngest is 2 years old to 95. We’re all just hanging out, dancing, laughing, sharing a meal together,” Hill said.