"Come as a Stranger, Leave as a Friend"

Steinstossen, a traditional stone throw competition, follows the Schwingen matches in the afternoon.<I><BR>OBSERVER?file photo</I>

FRANCES - For centuries it has been the custom of the Swiss people in their homeland to have an annual gathering as this promotes sportsmanship and fellowship among the people. July 2 through 4 the Lewis-Pacific Swiss Society will be hosting their 47th Annual Schwingfest at the Swiss Hall located at 19 Swiss Picknick Road in Frances.

The weekend will begin with a special concert and dinner on Friday night featuring entertainers from Switzerland, Kapelle Unspunnen. Dinner will be served from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and the concert will begin at 8 p.m. with live Cabaret-style entertainment. The entertainers will interact with the audience seated at tables on the dance floor. A dinner of bratwurst, chicken breast, scalloped potatoes, green beans, salad, roll and dessert will be available from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. for $8 (kids 12 and under $4). A wonderful evening of food and entertainment for the whole family to experience.

Kapelle Unspunnen are from an area near Interlaken, Switzerland. The group consists of Peter Delaquis, Erica Wild, Francis Wild and Dani Wild. The group will be playing alphorn, spinning coins in clay bowls and yodeling, and playing music on wine bottles and with bells. They will be playing for the dance, as well, along with the Blasers. Dancing will commence after the concert program.

Saturday will feature the sport of Schwingen -"Swiss Wrestling" - starting at 11 a.m.

Contestants from the entire West Coast will compete wearing special wrestling breeches made of canvas, on which holds are taken. The round is five minutes, unless a fall is achieved. The judges score on aggressiveness, sportsmanship, etc. The high point winners will be awarded crowns imported from Switzerland from beautiful crown girls at 10 p.m.

Live music will be played throughout the afternoon and the Steinstossen - "Stone Throw" - competition will be held, followed by dinner and a dance to live polka music featuring the Blaser Band from 8:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Sunday will begin with an outdoor Catholic Mass at 11 a.m., followed by the Buebeschwingfest to give the younger Schwingers ages 6-14 a chance to demonstrate their skills. Ice cream will be served by the Swiss Miss and a dance and awards will follow.

Event passes that make you a member for the weekend are available for $25 for adults, $13 for ages 12 to 17. Daily admission is also available on Friday $10 for adults, $5 for ages 12 to 17, Saturday $15 for adults, $8 ages 12 to 17, and Sunday $5 for adults, $3 for ages 12 to 17. Children under 12 are free all weekend.

The L.P.S.S. is proud to offer this colorful sport and hope that their hospitality and entertainment bring you back year after year. Great food, good fun to be had all weekend long in Frances. R.V. and Tent Camping Spaces Available.

For more information visit (www.lpss.info).

Any questions or need more information, feel free to contact Patrick Richardson at 360-269-4737 or email to (patches2005@hotmail.com).

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