How to spend 1 August: ideas for celebrating on Lake Maggiore

Switzerland will be celebrating! If you’re still not sure what to do on 1 August, take a trip to the south and find out how to celebrate National Day in perfect Ticino style. From traditional brunches on the farm to spectacular fireworks by the lake, Ascona-Locarno has three ideas to help you wish the Confederation happy birthday.

How to spend 1 August at Lake Maggiore

This year Switzerland will be celebrating its 728th birthday. Not bad, right? But if the whole Confederation celebrates on 1 August, what’s so special about celebrating it on Lake Maggiore? Flags flying in the gardens, on the balconies, in the windows and along the streets, fireworks, bangers, sparklers and fountains are traditions shared by all the cantons, as is watching the speech given by the president of the Confederation on television, or listening to it on the radio, and the bells that ring in the party at exactly 8 pm across Switzerland. But other traditions are unique and special. If you’ve never celebrated the first of August in the Lake Maggiore region or its valleys, here are three good reasons to give it a try. This is how we celebrate Swiss National Day in Ascona-Locarno.

Fireworks on the lake

Ascona would not be Ascona if it didn’t do things its own way! Here the celebrations for National Day begin the day before, with events and concerts that continue past midnight, warming you up nicely for 1 August. As tradition dictates, the celebrations end in the evening of 1 August with an amazing firework display on Lake Maggiore. The Ascona fireworks are so magical they attract audiences from all over the region. Do you really want to pass up the opportunity to feel like you’re dreaming as your heart swells with national pride?

Brunch on the farm

The region’s farms open their doors to welcome you for a traditional brunch, one of the nicest ways for families to celebrate National Day. With so many places to try, finding the ideal spot is easy:

brunch in the region’s mountains for passionate hikers or brunch on the farm among cows, horses and goats, much to the delight of children. Whatever the case, the main feature of these celebrations is a delicious meal prepared by hand with love and typical local products. The kids can learn to socialise with the farm animals while you enjoy the tractor display. Come and see how we celebrate being Swiss!

Community celebrations and bonfires

In the valleys, the lights go out to make way for the lighting of extraordinary bonfires that are a reminder of the expulsion of foreign bailiffs in the 14th century.

Legend has it the fires also served to frighten off the barbarians who had already tried to attack the Helvetians, and who fled in fear from the reflections of the bonfires on the lake, convinced it was a sign that the end of the world was approaching. This is why the tradition of bonfires has long been widespread, but from the first National Day it assumed even greater importance and significance. In Vallemaggia the bonfires are lit in the riverbed and accompanied by outdoor celebrations and barbecues. Community celebrations in the valleys are characterised by a convivial and friendly atmosphere, music, folklore and typical local products. There’s plenty of polenta, competitions for the whole family and gastronomic festivals. 1 August brings everyone together.

One for all, all for one

Switzerland’s motto speaks volumes about the spirit of collaboration on which the Confederation is based. It’s better together. Share your ideal National Day with #myasconalocarno on social media and spread your Swiss pride around the world. Yes, even if you aren’t Swiss, because you should be proud of having celebrated 1 August as a true confederate citizen!

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