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Bringing the cows home – the Alpabzug

Every autumn, all over the Alps, farmers go through the same process, having taken their cows up to higher pastures to graze of grass and herbs for the summer, it is time to bring them back to their stables and get them ready for their winter quarters. But why do something like this in a straightforward manner, when you could be making flower crowns for the cows to wear and throwing a party with plenty of Alpmusic, grilled cheese and schnapps? This is in essence what an Alpabzug involves and it, invariably, is a lot of fun. From hearing the distant clink of the bells as they get ever closer, to perusing the stands selling cheese and rustic goods that pop up in each village, to listening to the folklore bands performing and watching the locals get dressed in their best traditional garb for a game of “Jass” with their chums.

Here are some of the best local Alpabzugs for you to enjoy.

Most of them will take place on Saturday September 28 starting around 10.00

Engelberg is a classic, with a huge street fair, plenty of music, food and entertainment. Their Abzug is  from 10.00 to 17.00

Kerns near Melchsee-Frutt will also be having their Alpabzug from 10.00 to 14.00

Schüpfheim will have over 200 cows belonging to 7 local families descending into the village and a big party to go with it.

Entlebuch will have 25 market stands as well as all the traditional folklore

Weggis will be having their autumn fair as well as the abzug and a procession. Their event runs from 9.00 to 17.00

And, of course, after that it will be the season for the Chilbis (Autumn Fairs) but more on that in a separate post.

(Image Copyright: ventdusud)

Charlie Hartmann is the managing director of the Livingin organisation which focuses on helping international residents connect, grow and thrive in Switzerland.