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Dressed Up Cows and Drunk Farmers: Photos of a Traditional Swiss Cattle Parade

The cows are coming home after spending the summer up the mountains – which is a great reason for a party.

by Laurie Franck
02 October 2016, 11:00pm

This article originally appeared on VICE Alps

For many Swiss farmers the summer ends with the "Alpabzug", a cattle parade leading from the Alpine pastures where the cows spent their summer, back to the valley for winter. It's all very festive – the cattle are decorated with pretty flowers and twigs, and hundreds of inebriated people watch the parade from the side of the road. The cows that produced the most milk over the summer have the honour of leading the march down to the valley.

In the region of Berner Oberland, the Alpabzug comes with something extra. The cheese farmers who produce their cheese in a cooperative in the area throw a big party called "Chästeilet", where they divide the year's cheese among themselves – also inebriated. Photographer Laurie Franck went to this year's Alpabzug in Berner Oberland. She recently moved from Paris to Zürich – being closer to the great traditions Switzerland holds dear might not have been the main reason behind her move, but it's a definite bonus.

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