"Corso fleuri" in Neuchâtel

On the last weekend in September, the people of Neuchâtel celebrate the local grape harvest, with great pomp and ceremony. Festivities begin on Friday evening and continue through to midnight on Sunday. During these three special days, the city centre is closed to traffic, leaving local organisations, sports clubs and other societies to take over the streets. As well as a wide array of refreshment stands, there is a merry-go-round on the Place du Port for younger visitors to enjoy. The corso fleuri is punctuated by four parades, including a children’s fancy-dress parade and a Guggenmusik (carnival marching bands) parade. The celebrations culminate in the most spectacular of the four parades, the actualcorso fleuri, which takes place on Sunday afternoon. Up to 20 floats adorned with tens of thousands of flowers, which have been arranged to reflect the given theme that year. While the dahlias and carnations may hail from the Netherlands, their arrangement is always the work of local volunteers who patiently pin them one by one to the floats. Thecorso fleuriis the only paying event, with ticket prices ranging from 12 to 32 Swiss francs depending on the seating category. In the 1950s, this magnificent floral display attracted up to 80,000 onlookers. Today, this figure may have fallen to around 25,000, but the grape harvest festival remains as important as ever, with the tradition still passed down from generation to the generation. It is also the most popular tourist attraction in the canton by far.

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Association de la Fête des vendanges

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