For many years, the Schneider’s home in Atherton has been a fixture for 1st of August Celebrations. Many Swiss immigrants living on the San Francisco peninsula had recommended us the event for years.
Now, as new members of the Peninsula Swiss Club, we would not miss it for anything. When we arrived, many members were already gathering – there must have been about 180 people present and most of the tables were taken. But we were lucky: One table displaying my home canton, Baselland, was still available – it must have been fate.
Once again, the PSC’s organization committee chaired by Peter Thoeny had done a marvelous job: Two rows of tables decorated with flags from the different cantons and lampions awaited the guests of which many were dressed in traditional Swiss costumes.
At 6:45 Walter Gyger, President of the Peninsula Swiss Club started the celebration and thanked Peter Thoeny and the organization committee for their work and of course Mike and Lisa Schneider for hosting the event at their home. He also introduced Fred Rust & Band, responsible for the night’s musical highlights.
Now it was time to sing the national anthems of Switzerland and the United States. The lyrics of both anthems had been placed on each table, the Swiss anthem in German, French and Italian. But despite the good efforts and some encouragement by Walter via the speaker system, only faint singing could be heard during the Swiss anthem. Were most of the Swiss immigrants too long removed from their origins or was it the fact that in Switzerland the anthem is rarely sung? However, for the US anthem neither lyrics nor encouragement were necessary, it could be heard loud and clear!
After the anthems, we got to hear what citizens back in Switzerland would hear only three days later: The official speech of President Moritz Leuenberger from tape. He was calling for more unity and solidarity, especially with the poorest nations in the world.
Vice Consul Françoise Killias Zillweger then told the guests about the Swiss Roots program and gave kudos to Judith Van Caenegem and Swiss Lounge.
Mike Schneider also said a few words, reminiscing that it had been a good idea years ago not to remove the old street going through his property as it served still today for the area to set up the tables.
Now the buffet was open and traditional Swiss “Fleischkäse” (not easy to get here!) as well as an array of salads and frankfurters were available. A great meal for a 1 st of August celebration!
After the meal a variety of desserts were available, all homemade and very tasty!
After a beautiful sunset all the little lampions were lit up and the children formed a lampion parade - it was wonderful to look at! Then Fred Rust & Band fired it up and everybody had some fun dancing or listening.
It was a wonderful 1 st of August celebration with real Swiss food in a great setting. We had lots of fun, met some old friends and made some new ones.
hanks again to the Peninsula Swiss Club, Mike and Lisa Schneider and everyone who gave their time and effort to make it possible.