Stretching from Quai Gustave-Ador to the Quai Wilson, the annual Fêtes de Genève is one of Geneva’s can’t-miss summer events. From July 17 until August 10, the festival will bring music, food, fireworks, adventure, and culture to the lakefront.
Every year the festival has a theme. This year, the Fêtes, organized by the Geneva Tourism & Conventions Foundation and the Geneva Festival Organizing Committee, will celebrate the 200th anniversary of Geneva joining the Swiss Confederation. Espace 1815 in the Jardin Anglais will feature food, music and traditional entertainment, and arts and crafts from Neuchâtel, Fribourg, Valais, and Soleure, the four cantons that joined the Confederation with Geneva in 1815. The Little Parade on Saturday August 2, 15h30-18h00, will celebrate the music and traditions of Neuchâtel, Fribourg, Valais, and Soleure with fifes and drums, animals, floats, and more. Also on August 2, the Gendarmerie of Geneva will celebrate its own 200th anniversary with a lake show including pursuit races, helicopter winching, a boat explosion, jet skiers, and flyboarders. The show lasts from 12h00 until 15h00.
Here are a few more festival highlights:
- The Opening Firework Display kicks off the festival on Saturday August 2 at 22h30. The show lasts approximately 30 minutes and this year’s show will center on the 200th anniversary of Geneva joining the Swiss Confederation.
- The Grand Firework Display, themed “Man and Time”, will light up the night sky on Saturday August 9 beginning at 22h00. The show lasts approximately 55 minutes and is set to music played over loudspeakers along the lakeshore (the music is also broadcast on radio station One FM 107). Buy tickets to the organized stadium-style seating in advance or claim a spot along the lake early that evening.
- The Funfair from July 31 until August 10 features carnival rides all along the shore of Lake Geneva. Click here for an interactive map of all of the rides.
- The Luminarium has appeared in more than 40 countries and has been visited by more than 70 million people and will be set up lakeside for visitors to the Fêtes.
- Waiters and Waitresses Race is held Sunday August 10. Watch 100 local waitstaff race between Baby Plage and Quai Gustave-Ador carry trays with two glasses of water and two full bottles in one hand. Running is forbidden along the 1.8km route and participants must not spill any of the water.
- Be aware of your surroundings. The area is popular with pickpockets and thieves, so keep money safely stowed, smart phones tucked away, and leave valuables at home.
- Be prepared to wait, especially at peak times (weekends, evenings) for rides, drinks, and tables at any of the open-air restaurants along the shore.
- Consider using public transportation. Traffic is notoriously congested around and across the Mont Blanc bridge, especially so during the Fêtes. You can plan your journey to and from the area with the TPG (Geneva’s buses, trams, and shuttles) homepage or smartphone apps. Click here for road closures and parking information.
- Plan your visit in advance using the festival map and program available on the Fêtes de Genève website.
For more information, click here for the Fêtes de Genève homepage.
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