Fête des Vignerons added to UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage
On December 1, 2016, UNESCO named the Winegrowers’ Festival (Fête des Vignerons) to its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The decision underscores the social and cultural significance of Switzerland’s canton of Vaud and its centuries-old wine festival. It is held only once a generation in the market square of Vevey, along the scenic shores of Lake Geneva, just as it has been for more than 200 years.
First celebrated in 1797, there is no other festival in the world quite like the Fête des Vignerons. It is a spectacle produced and performed by the city residents of Vevey and the surrounding vineyard communities along the shores of Lake Geneva, an extraordinary social event that brings together a literal cast of thousands featuring local amateur actors, singers, and dancers. The theme changes with each festival, but typically combines ancient wine growing traditions, Vaudois culture and contemporary issues.
Organized by the Confrérie des Vignerons (the Brotherhood of Winegrowers), which dates back to medieval times in Vevey, the pageant is held against the natural backdrop of Lake Geneva, the Alps and the UNESCO-designated vineyards of the Lavaux.
The last festival took place in 1999 and included more than 5,200 actors and extras performing for 15 days, attracting thousands of spectators to each performance, which inevitably extends into the streets of Vevey with food stalls, music and open wine cellars.
The next Fête des Vignerons is planned for July 26 to August 11, 2019. Ticket information and pricing, as well as hotel packages in the Lake Geneva Region, will be forthcoming as the festival dates draw near.
The Lake Geneva Region (Canton of Vaud) is located in the French-speaking part of Western Switzerland, a timeless, picture-postcard destination of classic mountain beauty, refined cuisine and legendary hotels. Visitors come for wine tastings in the Lavaux vineyards, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They dine in celebrated Michelin-starred restaurants and local brasseries and visit lively farmers markets. Outdoor opportunities range from hiking and biking to sailing and swimming in Lake Geneva. Major ski resorts include Les Diablerets, Villars and Leysin. The region is famed for the Vallée de Joux, the center of Swiss watchmaking, and the new Chaplin’s World museum. Visit www.lake-geneva-region.ch to learn more.
– Text & image courtesy Conran PR for Canton of Vaud