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The "Prättigauer Alp Spektatkel" (or Praettigau Alp Spectacle) takes place in Seewis, a village perched on a sunny slope high above the Prättigau valley.
The Prättigau valley boosts more than 80 Alps where cows spend their summer feasting on fresh grass and alpine herbs. 27 of these Alps produce approximately 150 tonnes of flavourful alpine cheese made of raw milk and 15 tonnes of butter.
Graubünden celebrates a wealth of alpine customs. Legends are alive and farmers are particularly proud of their traditions and heritage.
When summer ends and cows, sheep and goats return back to the villages from their alpine pasture, farmers throw a thanksgiving festival to honour the hard work of herdsmen and -women throughout the summer season.
Some villages doing it rather quietly and without a fuss. Others' - like Seewis with its "Prättigauer Alp Spektakel" - took it to another level. Elaborate decorated cows, goats with handkerchiefs around their necks and sheep with a wreath around their bellies parade through the village, their proud owners up front. It is a colourful alpine festival with a vibrant market and all kinds of fun activities and entertainment.
Over 100 decorated cows parade against the eye-catching backdrop of the Rätikon mountain range toward the village of Seewis. The weather in the Alps is quite unpredictable and not every alpine descent takes place in sunny weather - but that does not affect the good mood.
When the cows come home, spectators await them patiently. The large bells can be heard from afar, way before the cows arrive in the village.
The "Prättigauer Alp Spektakel" is no ordinary folk event. It is the only alpine descent in Switzerland that combines new ideas with age-old traditions of the Alpine culture. Amongst other things, they added Alpine Olympic Games to their program. Herds-women and -men compete in entertaining disciplines such as milking cows, fence building, bouncing on milking stools, Alpine storytelling, goat herding and more.
You don't have to be a professional herdsmen to participate in the fun. Everybody can join in and compete in the somewhat eccentric and not too seriously disciplines such as throwing rubber boots :-)
Market stall on market stall along Main Street where local specialties - from cheeses to air dried meats, pastries and home-made liquors can be sampled and purchased.
Main street filled up quickly and everyone checked out what was on offer. Even the sun came out and made it all even more enjoyable.
Want to sample Alpine cheese? It's made of raw milk. The regulations are very strict, but still, Alpine cheese can't be exported. So we have them to eat all by ourselves - unless you come and visit and help in the feast.
Home made bread, pastries, dried fruits, preserves, and liqueurs. The tart in the right lower corner was invented in my home village and is called "Fideriser Torte". The one to the left is the famous "Engadin Nut Tart" (Tuorta da Nusch) with a nut and honey filling to die for - a delicious calorie bomb :)
The "Scarnuz Grischun" (Scarnuz is rumantsch for paper bag) is filled with typical specialties from Graubünden. One can purchase these specialties year round through the "Scarnuz Grischun" organization - a network of about 40 farmers who produce home-made specialties.
All kinds of home-made products: crocheted and knitted, backed and brewed and preserved.
We love our Schnapps. There's one for every conceivable occasion - enriched with different herbs, fruits, flower petals, nuts, honey and even young fir needles. Some are said to have healing powers.
And here the "Schnapps of all Schnappes" of Graubünden called Röteli. It's made of cherries and some other secret ingredients depending on the family recipe.
Air dried meet, a chunk of cheese or a delicious tart? The choice is yours!
Some came in their best fineries. To the left, the "Prättigauer Festtagstracht" (festive costume of the Prättigau Valley). By the way, the brown costume to the right in the photo just above is a traditional "working costume" of Graubünden. It can be blue, brown or russet.
If you dare, do register, either through their website or send them an email to let them know that you want to participate.How to get to Seewis
This video shows a little about the atmosphere in Seewis and at the "Prättigauer Alp Spektaktel"
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