Outdoorsy Weekend Highlights for 12-21 May

a metal sculpture of a running woman before bright pink and white flowers

The month of May in the Swiss Romandy always lands with a spate of events and exhibitions to lure you outdoors in, hopefully, great weather. Here are a few highlights for you.

Château de Coppet Garden Fair

Nothing screams Spring’s Here! like the annual Garden Fair at the Château de Coppet, the 15th edition of which is taking place this weekend on the 12, 13 and 14 May from 10:00 to 18:00 at the lovely lakeside village of Coppet.

The Fair gathers gardeners of all skills levels, and few leave without seeds, plants or flowers to nurture, though some just show up for the festive atmosphere and fresh air.

75 Exhibitors

This 15th edition will entice visitors with the wares of 75 exhibitors, including nurseries, landscapers, and pool and pergola installers. On the creative side, artists and artisans offer merchandise linked to gardens and plants including garden sculptures, furniture, ornaments, pottery, books, straw hats and handicrafts.

Florists will be on hand with ready-to-buy Mother’s Day bouquets. And children can enjoy games, having make-up applied or joining in small bouquet making and other pastimes.

The Plant Hunters

This year’s special event features daily lectures at 16:00 by Louis-Marie Blanchard, who’ll discuss the brave botanists who accompanied 18th-century maritime expeditions (think Cook and Bougainville!) to bring spices, vegetables, fruit and exotic plants back to Europe.

Speaking of fruit and veg, several food trucks will offer sweet and savoury offerings throughout the day. So come and say ‘ta ta’ to Winter with a stroll around the garden fair of the majestic Coppet Castle.

Naval Parade at Morges

Make no mistake, this one’s a stunner. Take yourself to quayside at Morges this Sunday, 14 May, for the annual CGN Naval Parade of its Belle Epoch steamers.

This unique fleet of 19th-century paddlesteamers – the most prestigious in the world – is decked out in its best finery to entertain spectators quayside at Morges with a spectacular aquatic ‘ballet’.

The festivities get underway on the quay at 10:00 and continue until 18:00 with two concerts by the Fanfare La Riviera at 11:00 and 15:30. Local eateries will set up food stands to keep fans fed and hydrated.

The naval parade will be visible from the quay from 14:45 until its end at 15:30. Arrive early and take a walk along the lakefront boardwalk or take in the tulip festival in the Parc de l’Independence. Just be sure to find a good spot to take in the parade as there’s bound to be a big turnout.

Fire on the Lake

This first-time-ever event promises to attract large crowds all along Geneva’s Rade over the Ascension weekend from 18 to 21 May.

The Feu Ô Lac will offer: music concerts at the Baby Plage; DJs and Stand-Up comedians near the Jet D’Eau; dancing and tea parties in the heart of a Village du Terroir (dedicated to the region’s local produce); musicians on the Mouettes (Geneva’s water taxis); a tennis village at the Quai Gustave-Ador; children’s soapbox racing on the Avenue de France; rollerskating on the Pont du Mont-Blanc, and much more.

Drone Show

The promised highlight of the event on the 18, 19 and 20 May at 22:00 is a Drone spectacle that will, in the words of the organisers, bring “an immense troop of subtle and mischievous beings (that), endowed with imagination, transform according to their encounters, forming sumptuous ballets of stars in space.” (Sounds, well, impressive, no?)

Their activity will reflect with “enthusiasm and lively curiosity” Geneva’s history, geography and heritage. The soundtrack, light integrations, pyrotechnics and choreography have been created uniquely for the three evening performance. All that’s needed is good weather (check the event webpage or the Ville de Genève Facebook or Instagram pages if the weather looks iffy).

As the saying goes, there’ll be something for everyone, young and old(er), so head on outside and enjoy yourself.

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