Monday, August 1, 2011

Swiss festival in Sutton

Superb Swiss Festival delights thousands in Sutton

By M. Helmuth Starhemberg
For one whole week the town of Suttonturnes into a Swiss village. All week long Swiss flags had been flying from every light and telephone pole in town, restaurants were preparing Swiss inspired dishes and tourists arrived in droves for the 35th annual Swiss fest in town and on Sutton mountain.
Sutton has a sizeable Swiss population and this festival is the second largest in the world outside of Switzerland and what a beautiful event it turnbed out to be. On friday afternoon, Swiss musicials played throughout the town and there was much impromptu dancing to alpensongs, alpenhorns and polka music.

There was a well attended and finely organized display of local Swiss artists at the gallery Farfely in the center of town and most stores held sidewalk sales for the whole weekend and from what we learned, it was welll worth their while.
On Saturday was "the Big One". A whole day and fun filled night on Sutton mountain which was attended by thousands wgho camped out all day in the grass and on the slopes of the mountain. Our favorite was when we ascended in the chairlift accompanied by the lovely strains of traditional folk music by the Men's Singing Club of Lacolle. Every chair of the l;ift was taken all day long and the price was right: it was gratis, a gift from the mountain to thousands of happy people who could enjoy the spectacular views from the chalet. Lac Brome glittered to the right, the fields of the local farms could be seen as far as Dunham and in the distance were the mountains of Quebec.
Back at the ground station there were musicians all day long and much polka dancing, yodling, alpenhorns, a woman's chorus, fiddlers, the musical group "Harmonie de Granby" and other choristers, accordeon players, fifflers and even the display of traditional Swiss wrestling. And everywhere were the beautifil Swiss girls in their traditional "Trachten".

If this was not enough, visitors had a chance to watch marksmen compete in a small caliber rifle shoout-out, eat in one of the two huge dining tents erected for the event and well attended throughout the day and night. Even in the tents there was traditional music and everyone enjoyed a group of young girls dancing to the great delight of the crowd.

All this went on until midnight after a lampoon procession, fireworks, more alpenhorn and great cameraderie of one of the friendliest crows we have ever seen. There was no incident, no rowdiness, even the litter was picked up by people as they were leaving which is prety typical of the Swiss but surprisingly rubbed off on all the other visitors who left with big smiles and lovely memories andd a firm resolve to return for the 36th running of this great event in 2012.

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