Féchy, Switzerland, is a wine village, and today's the long-anticipated day of the 15th annual Fête du Raisin ('Grape Festival'), 22 September 2012, a major event in the Saturday social calendar of this part of La Côte, the lakeside villages between Lausanne and Geneva.
Last year, our first experience of the Fête du Raisin, it was brutally sunny and hot (just the weather for a long day of wine-tasting). This year it was anything but.
We're awakened in late morning by exuberant greetings in the street outside.
In front of the village school and the church, our fellow Fezzolans are congregating, and the train is bringing more of them up the hill.
It's an attractive Dotto F87 model hired for the occasion.
Circulating back down to lower Féchy for another load of partygoers.
The Great and the Good of Féchy are milling about in front of the village school, awaiting more Great and Good in the next trainloads.
Including the fanfare (on the right) and some folks in Japanese garb who couldn't keep away.
Uschi is recording the event for posterity with a camera that would make a paparazzo proud. That's our school, to be decommissioned next year in favor to a modern building being built in the lower village.
More and more folks in Japanese costume arrive, who also can't keep away
Chris (in the suit) is a member of the organizing committee
A presumably traditional Japanese drummer gets a rolling start -- every year the Fête du Raisin features of a guest nation, in this case Japan, and adds cuttings from that country's winegrowers to the Vineyard of the World (La vigne du monde), in the vineyards just below this yard.
A very rhythmic and vigorous presumably traditional Japanese drummer.
Excellent speeches, both edifying and amusing, as the first raindrops are suspected.
The schoolkids clear their tiny throats and prepare themselves . . .
. . . and then burst into song.
The fanfare plays for a while, before . . .
Brollies Out! . . . the heavens open.
At the end of the ceremonies, it's time for the march down the hill to the wine-tasting and other craft booths set up in the lower town.
The marching band sets off.
The wet march down the hill is all well and good for some, but the train will suffice for others.
In fact, a second train has been laid on.
This is the famous Guillaume the Tschu-Tschu from Morges, let out of his pen for the day.
And in case of need, reinforcements are ready.
Hikes awaited and we didn't actually have time this year to join in the afternoon hijinks downtown, but here's what it was like on a sunnier occasion last year:
A kind and thoughtful dinner in the town hall for all new residents in the past two years