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Old 10.10.2018, 21:57
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Fête des Vignerons 2019

What happens when hundreds of Swiss winemakers are given over twenty years to plan and stage a celebration of everything that they hold dear with the help of thousands of volunteers on the shores of Lake Geneva? An event that is held so dearly in the previous generation of attendants' memory that it starts selling out more than 300 days before it takes place.

The Fête des Vignerons in Vevey is that event, my mother went with my grandmother in 1977 and still recalls it vividly. Unfortunately, we missed the opportunity to have a three-generation outing in 1999 and my grandmother passed away two years ago, but I will be there next year and think of her. Since this is one of the beautiful side-effects of living in a country that is so deeply steeped in traditions, some of which infuriate many EF members, I thought I'd point out this event before it sells out. Yes, tickets are expensive, but I'm told they are worth it.

From the website:
The Fête des Vignerons pays homage to viticultural traditions many centuries old of an entire region with a spectacular show and coronation of the vineyard hands.
Organised by the Confrérie des Vignerons, this celebration, unique in the world, takes place once a generation in Vevey, the town situated at the heart of the viticultural region Lavaux, in the canton of Vaud, in Switzerland.
It is the first living Swiss tradition to have been recognised by UNESCO

The celebration takes place as a series of shows over several weeks, with every show dedicated to a different canton or a different aspect of Switzerland. Some are in the daytime, others in the evening.

Just a few pointers:
  • if you plan to stay the night, book now; the organisers told me in May that this will be more of a challenge than getting tickets to the shows.
  • some shows are already almost sold out (unless you are happy to pay upwards of 240 francs per ticket), such as the one where Fribourg is the guest canton (the "Ranz des Vaches" is their "showpiece" my mam said that the whole crowd joining in was spine-tingling stuff)
  • the Ticketcorner Website is an absolute nightmare, I would not attempt it on mobile, even on a desktop, it made me want to physically harm their website designer. What I found helpful was to scroll down a bit to where there is a model of the arena shown and then click on the link just above the picture. This opens a pdf where you see the entirety of the arena, making for easier selection of your spot. The black dots are posts, so try not to place yourself right behind those. The rest of the workings are too complicated to explain, just be prepared for it to be harder than it needs to be - mind you, I may just be a bit thick.
  • my mam says that if you are sat high up (aka in the gods), it's worthwhile making sure you are facing the lake, as this adds the French Alps to your view; not sure how it is further down.
  • as you can imagine, Vevey does not really have parking for that many people, so take into account the need to use public transport, if only for the last section of the journey. Also, it is a winemaker's party. Take the train. Drink the wine. Be merry.
  • there are usually a fair few horses and cows involved unless they go all modern and have drones wearing bells or something, so if you are allergic to these or deeply offended by animals used in spectacles, probably not for you.
  • there is also a very high likelihood of yodelling and alphorning, plus I am going to assume that the respective canton adds its own flavour to the proceedings, hence my hard no to going when Basel is heading - I despise piccolos (but love drums, so maybe that was a bad decision)

That is all that I can contribute at this point, I hope this information is of some use to at least a few of you.

Last edited by Kittster; 11.10.2018 at 00:37. Reason: Fixed typos
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