The Village of Sugarcreek: A great place to visit.

Buggy Downtown 0220 R Mc
Randy L. McKee

The World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock, featuring a happy, animated couple dancing to an oompa band rendition of the Bratwurst Polka, is arguably the most popular attraction in the quaint Swiss village of Sugarcreek. But it’s far from the only reason to visit, said Christine Quickel, Sugarcreek’s marketing administrator.

“The best way to experience Sugarcreek may be to immerse yourself in our culture,” Quickel said. “We’re very proud of our rich heritage, and we are a gateway to one of the largest Amish communities in the world.”

The “Little Switzerland of Ohio” was settled by Amish and other German and Swiss families, the latter of whom made the village famous by their cheese-making skills. The Alps may be conspicuously absent from Sugarcreek’s hilly horizon, but apart from the missing mountainous vistas, village visitors might easily imagine themselves touring the streets of a small Swiss town — by foot or by horse-drawn buggy.

Every half hour, downtown tourists gather in anticipation around the 24-foot-high cuckoo clock at the intersection of East Main Street and Broadway, surrounded by elaborate hand-painted murals that depict breathtaking Swiss landscapes amidst an audial backdrop of polka music that permeates the village air. The historical murals adorn the facing of seven buildings, while across from the clock, a 112-foot-long, 13-panel brick wall details the area’s history through sculpture.

Nearby, the Alpine Hills Museum displays a 19th century Amish kitchen and an 1890s cheese house among its three floors of history. The museum also serves as a tourist information center where maps, brochures and other helpful information can be obtained. A block away from the clock, a unique museum tucked inside Lavon Daugherty’s Collectors Decanters and Steins shop features more than 3,000 unique steins and other works of art.

“Lavon has spent many decades collecting the items,” Quickel said. “He has a lot of historical steins, and he can relate, in vivid detail, all the interesting stories behind them.”

A short drive south of downtown, the unique Age of Steam Roundhouse Museum, which features the largest private collection of steam engines in the United States, helps to preserve America’s railroad history.

“Although train rides aren’t available, the roundhouse is the only one of its kind in the country,” Quickel said. “The museum is a must-see and you’ll find it to be magnificent. People have traveled from all 50 states to get an up-close look at the steam engines of yesteryear.”

Guided tours through the 34-acre site introduce guests to 23 steamers, including its newest acquisition — the Reading Railroad “Camelback” locomotive. Constructed in 1903, it is one of only three Camelbacks still existing. Amidst the steamers, guests can take in a depot, a store house, a coal loader, a wood water tank, an ash pit, a back shop and — the jewel of the site — a working, 18-stall brick roundhouse that surrounds a 115-foot turntable.

The Sugarcreek experience includes several engaging special events during the summer, including the annual Fabulous 50’s Fling car show and the Ohio Swiss Festival, the largest annual celebration of the village’s rich culture.

The Ohio Swiss Festival, to be held Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, Sept. 29

to Oct. 1, celebrates the heritage of Switzerland with three days of wine and cheese sampling, races, contests, and parades. The festival was created in 1953 to acknowledge the achievements of the local cheese makers and the other hardworking Swiss families who chose Sugarcreek as their home. Festival highlights include the traditional Steintossen — or throwing of the stone — and the playing of the alphorns — the long wooden horns traditionally blown by mountain dwellers of the Alps. 

Visit Sugarcreek online at or call 330-852-4113. Reach them via email at for more information.