Fêtes de Genève shines despite bad weather

Rain failed to dampen the spectacular fireworks display at the Fêtes de Genève Keystone

Despite unseasonably bad weather, the organisers of Geneva's annual festival, the Fêtes de Genève, have declared the party a success. Some 1.3 million visitors braved the rain to enjoy the event.

This content was published on August 7, 2000 minutes

Even the traditional highlight - a massive firework competition on Saturday night, one of three during the festival - was not the damp squib many had feared, and 350,000 people lined the shores of Lake Geneva to watch to pyrotechnics.

Just as many turned out the previous weekend for the increasingly popular Lake Parade and techno evening. There were also big crowds for the opening ceremony and the children's day.

The number of visitors attending the 10-day event was down on last year's figure of 1.8 million. But the organisers blamed the weather, saying fewer people were willing to brave the elements to attend the midweek attractions.

"It was a miracle that, despite the weather, all the events were able to go ahead," said Frédéric Hohl, head of the organising committee.

Two concerts, by Lara Fabian and Henri Dès, which were scheduled to be held outdoors in the Parc des Eaux-Vives had to moved to the Geneva Arena.

The organisers added that of the 72 stallholders who had set up shop along the shore of the lake, only three had complained about the level of trade.

"The people of Geneva can be proud of their festival, which attracts a really cosmopolitan crowd," said Christian Rey, president of the city's tourism office.

The organisers were also pleased the festival had gone smoothly. There was a much bigger security presence than usual, and no serious incidents were reported.

There was also a massive clean-up operation every morning to keep the streets of the city looking at their best.

by Roy Probert

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