Before I moved to La Clusaz (and subsequently St Jean de Sixt), I didn’t realise how busy this area is in summer. After all, La Clusaz and Le Grand Bornand are ski resorts, where people go to ski in winter. They go to beaches in summer, right? Wrong. Summers in the Aravis are almost as popular as winters, and with most people hanging around town instead of sliding down the slopes, the villages seem even busier in summer.
The local villages do their best to lure people away from the beaches and into the mountains by offering all sorts of entertainment and activities — many of which are free. For instance, this week is the Aravis et Compagnies family festival. This involves BMX tracks for kids to try out, trampolines, giant plastic balls for kids to get in and float on top of a pool and night-time entertainment, amongst other things. Last night, the acrobats started at 9pm in St Jean de Sixt, with a massive crowd of kids, teens, adults, holiday makers and locals watching. The front of the stage was so packed, you can see people crowding by the side of the stage in this photo (with the l’Etale peak of La Clusaz in the distance). They bounced around, balanced on each others’ heads, and juggled for fifty minutes.
Dusk had turned to night, so the fire dancers started. Not only did they spin giant blazing fans and juggle with fire, they added fireworks to their batons for the last five minutes of the show. What a pity there were a couple of boulders at the front of the stage, blocking the view.
Even though the clock had hit 10.30, the show wasn’t over. A local group (Scummy Band) played some songs that the older kids stayed out to watch, with the band making sure they left out the English swear words from their songs. They played songs from the past five decades and finished after 11pm. Local organisers efficiently packed everything up from the three stages and moved the daytime equipment back into place so the kids would have something to do first thing this morning. And the whole thing was free. We might not have sandy beaches here in the Alps, but the free entertainment during school holidays is fantastic.