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The cows come home to Fribourg

Europe's largest cattle fair will usher in Spring in canton Fribourg this weekend (May 12,13,14). Nearly three dozen European breeds will be presented at the POYA 2000 in the town of Estavannens.

It will be the first POYA festival in more than ten years, and only the sixth ever. The organisers describe it as a gigantic cowfest where not only the cows but also their geographical origins are celebrated. The Swiss breeds include, Simmental and Black Spotted, while Angus, Gasconne and Piedmontese are among some of the others being herded into Estavannens.

The organisers will also be presenting endangered breeds - some numbering only a few hundred.

The auction of 26 cows imported from France, Italy and Austria will be one of the highlights on Saturday, while the finale will be the 'grand procession' of the different herds on Sunday.

Folkmusic groups from across Europe will provide the moo-sical highlights. There will also be a fleamarket, street theatre, and a wide variety of dairy products to sample including, of course, fondue.

On a smaller but more traditional scale, farmers in canton Appenzell will start their cattle drive up to alpine pastures towards the end of the month. The farmers along with their families dress up in traditional costumes for the time-honoured event.