LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- The Fete des Vignerons, or Festival of the
Winegrowers, a celebration held once about every 20 years, is set
for July 29 through Aug. 15 in the lakeside town of Vevey.
Organizers of the event tout it as being not simply a folk
festival, but rather an "event of artistic intensity." It was held
for the first time in 1783. This year marks the 11th celebration of
Daily theatrical performances are created by the Swiss theater
producer Francois Rochaix.
Rochaix is director of the Institute of Advanced Theatre
Training at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.
Each show centers around traditional themes such as the four
seasons, the wine growers labor and Greek and Roman mythological
figures such as Bacchus, Ceres and Pales, who have inspired the
celebration. Four parades are performed by professional artists in
addition to more than 4,000 amateur participants.
Each parade includes music, dancing, singing and traditional
folklore performed outdoors on the Market Place, in the heart of
Vevey and along the lake shore. About 50,000 are expected to attend
the festival, which coincides with the solar eclipse that will
occur during one of the shows on Aug. 11.
The festival is organized by the Brotherhood of Winegrowers of
Vevey, which began in the early 17th century. In those days,
experts from the Brotherhood would evaluate the work of the vine
tenders. The festival was held five times each century to fete the
Today, the Brotherhood's aim is to promote wine cultivation and
improve its methods. The Vevey Tourist Office is offering tickets
for 90-minute walking tours of Vevey. Tickets are $10.
The museum tour visits the Nestle Food Museum, the Historical
and Winegrowers Fraternity Museum, the Fine Arts Museum, the Swiss
Camera Museum and the Swiss Games Museum.
The Vevey tour visits the Russian Orthodox Church, the city's
old town, its flowered lakeshore and other sights. Half-day tours
are also available and include wine-tasting at vineyards and a
cruise on Lake Geneva. Tickets are $15.
Full-day tours are offered for Geneva, Gstaad and a cogwheel
train trip from Montreux to Rochers-de-Naye. Tickets are $30.
The tourist office offers a list of hotel accommodations with
rates for individuals or groups as well as passes for local,
regional or national travel via rail, boat, cable car and buses.
Vevey Tourist Office, Phone: (011) 41 21 922-2020
Fax: (011) 41 21 922-2025. E-mail:
[email protected]. Web: www.fetedesvignerons.ch