Shepherds festival on Gemmi

28 July 2019

On the last Sunday in July the quiet landscape around the Daubensee lake is filled with life and about 800 sheep gather on the shore of the lake.

The shepherds' festival

The annual shepherds' festival starts when the shepherds and many members of the public of the cantons of Bern and Valais meet for an unrestrained get-together! The farmers come in the course of the morning with their flocks and keep them back until the ""Glack"" - a mixture of bran and salt - is scattered. It is a special delicacy for the sheep, who race down the slopes to enjoy their treat.

Programme

From 7 am: Sunnbüel cable car is in operation (Gemmi cable car in operation from 6 am)
From 6 am: Shepherd's breakfast (to 9:30 am)
9.30 am: Open-air church service
11 am: Sheep are fed with ""Glack"" (cereal mix)
2 pm: Tug of war: Bern vs. Valais

More entertainment: Dance music, flag waving & alphorn and bagpipe players.

If the weather looks doubtful, you can obtain information by phoning 1600 (canton of Valais 027 - Public Events 5) from 6 am onwards.

The shepherds' festival offers an opportunity for shepherds and farmers to meet in a friendly atmosphere. They may well live only a few kilometres apart from one another but they are separated by high mountains and inaccessible terrain. Achieving active brotherhood between neighbours from Valais and the Berner Oberland beyond the Gemmi Pass is the main goal of this gathering. This event has been held since 1957: rooted in the soil, jovial, spectacular and yet different every time!

Transport

Kandersteg - Daubensee/Gemmi
Kandersteg - Sunnbüel: cable car (from 7 am), every 30 min.
Walk from Sunnbüel - Daubensee approx. 2 hrs

Leukerbad - Daubensee/Gemmi
Leukerbad - Gemmi: cable car (from 6 am), every 30 min.
Walk from Gemmi to Daubensee 30 min.