Swiss celebrate winemakers

Geneva: Swiss and tourists alike are flocking to a Lake Geneva town to celebrate the region’s winemakers in a once-in-a-generation spectacle. Organizers said the festival “highlights the work on the vineyard.”

The Swiss town of Vevey this week kicked off its once-in-a-generation winemakers’ festival, “Fete des Vignerons.”

“It’s been 20 years that we’ve been waiting for this moment now, and it’s crazy,” said a 31-year-old physical therapist participating in the celebrations in Vevey, a town on Lake Geneva.

Thousands of dancers, actors and extras were brought on for the festival, which has a budget of 100 million Swiss francs (€90 million, $102 million). Some observers even described the kickoff as an Olympics-style show.

Celebrations officially started on Thursday and run through to August. The festival, which began in 1797, now takes place once every 20 years in a purpose-built arena that holds up to 20,000 people.