The curious Newly Swissed we are, we decided to check out the Zentralschweizer Jodlerfest, a yodeling festival in the historic town of Lachen.
There, some 2000 contenders from the cantons of central Switzerland competed in various traditional Swiss sports, such as alphorn, flag spinning and yodeling. As we quickly found out, this event was no walk in the park for the participants! If you thought that there was exactly one type of yodeling, think again! But despite the competitive nature of the Jodelfest, there was still plenty of entertainment and food to be found on the fairgrounds...
The various booths, tent restaurants and market stands spread across the marina of Lachen offered the works.
Bratwurst, fried fish (Fischknusperli), local beers, sour apple juice (Suure Most). And, of course: cotton candy.
Merchants are hawking the latest in Swiss farm fashion. Call it "prêt-à-porter suisse"!
And finally, another fairground classic: A booth selling folk music on CD's and casette tapes (!).
On the way to the alphorn competition, this musician stopped at the pipe stand to load up on "curvy" smokes...
Charming sales reps from Villiger are also waling the festival with their vendor trays.
Meanwhile, the Lachen church is packed for the various yodel presentations. Each group has right minutes to convince the jury of their skills...
We ended up spending most of the time with the "flaggers" (Fähnler).
While we imagined a more romantic setting with blue skies and green pastures, the presentations were actually held inside a barn on a lumberyard. The indoor location made complete sense because in a competition where the slightest flow of air could make or break a toss, environmental influences need to be canceled out. With the silky Swiss flags, time also flew and before we knew it, a couple of hours had passed.
We learned from a seasoned veteran that points are deducted for touching or stepping outside the rings. Each contestant starts with a balance of 30 points, which are reduced with every mistake during the 3 minute presentation.
In order to be in the top league, a Fahnenschwinger needs to score above 26 points. A flag folding in midair is a no-no, and dropping of a flag almost positively resulted in an audible reaction from the otherwise quiet audience...
Outdoors on the plaza, a group of kids in traditional costumes have assembled to perform a Swiss folk song.
What a great experience to mingle with the locals! We learned a lot and will be going to more yodeling festivals in the future...
- Jodlerfeste event listings
- Watch a clip of the kids performing a Swiss folk song (in Swiss German).
Han würklich Fröid ghaa a dene Fahneschwinger und au a all dene super Fotene! Han s’Gfühl, wie wänn i salber dete gsii wär….wiiter so:-)