A host of events to celebrate the autumn season and local traditions.
The apple season is back again! A chance to celebrate autumn by sampling freshly-made cider at the many village festivals. Head for Serraval on 1 October for the apple and donkey festival organised by the Thônes Valley orchards association, Vergers de la Vallée de Thônes. The Apple & Biscantin Cider Centre will be opening its doors for the occasion. In Saint-Ferréol on 15 October, the apple festival invites children and adults to admire the old presses, have fun on the rides and visit the grand car-boot sale. And because apples go so well with black pudding, Manigod is hosting its traditional black-pudding festival on 8 Octoberin the village, where you’ll see how black pudding is made and of course get to taste. The proceeds will go to a charity for the disabled, the Association des Paralysés de France.
On 21 & 22 October in Annecy-le-Vieux, the 42nd Ancileviennerie festival will bring together and exhibit the delicious fare of the food artisans of Savoie. There’ll be animals there too and, of course, a magnificent collection of old tractors that will delight the children! On a different note, don’t miss the array of vintage cars and motorcycles that are to gather at the Croix Fry pass in Manigod on 24 septembre. An enjoyable day for anyone with a passion for old machines.
The famous Saint-Maurice fairs in Le Grand-Bornand on 23 September and in Thônes on 30 September are among the region’s highlights. They bring together farmers and other people involved in agriculture. Livestock shows and cheese contests are held in a festive atmosphere, alongside samplings and sales of local produce, car-boot sales, funfairs and other activities for visitors.
On 14 October, the return from the mountain pastures will bring an atmosphere of authenticity and folklore to Annecy town centre, amid traditional music and dancing. Processions of animals will make their way along the streets. Learn about ancient trades, the flavours of yesteryear and mountain farming traditions.
October and November are brought to life with other fairs as well, such as the local agricultural fair held in Manigod on 14 October. To share their enthusisasm with the public, the village farmers round up their best cows. On 29 October, it’s time for the grand district goat and sheep fair in Thônes, with a new sheep-shearing contest organised for the first time this year. Last but not least, on 11 November, see you in Annecy for the Caïon festival. “Caïon” is another French word for pig, and pigs are celebrated too!
On two Saturdays, 30 September and 21 October, head for Doussard to board the Espérance III for an old-fashioned sailing experience on the lake in a boat powered by a lateen sail. Then disembark for a guided walking tour in the Bout du Lac d’Annecy nature reserve. In Thônes on Tuesday 19 or Tuesday 26 September, venture deep into the autumn forest to listen to the bellowing of stags. Freestyle fans will gather during the weekend of 23-24 September in La Clusaz for the Savoie Mont Blanc Freestyle Tour, a skateboarding and scootering competition that anyone can take part in or come and watch. Lastly, on 1 and 7 October, head for the Bout du Lac area for the Sources du lac d’Annecy half marathon starting at Doussard, followed by the 23rd Faverges-Seythenex trail race.