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Primal Scream and fireworks: How the Swiss stage party 2000

Either loud and boisterous, or quiet and peaceful – millennium parties held across Switzerland have something to offer for everybody. The list of attractions ranges from the standard fireworks to art works going up in flames.

This content was published on December 31, 1999 - 08:12

Either loud and boisterous, or quiet and peaceful – millennium parties held across Switzerland have something to offer for everybody. The list of attractions ranges from the standard fireworks to art works going up in flames.

While many events are free, price tags for others range from a modest $6 to a hefty $600. Tourism operators across the nation have promised to stage the “party of the millennium,” and there is virtually no Swiss town or city -- short of being broke – that does not promise champagne and above-average fireworks.

Here is a list of some traditional or unusual events that will help catapult people into the magic year 2000.

BERNE: Those who want a “heathen” approach are invited to walk up the Gurten hill just outside the capital. Come midnight, renowned Swiss artist Bernhard Luginbühl will set fire to his wood sculpture – titled “New Year’s Eve” -- in an near-archaic ritual that will see art go up in smoke and people enter the new millennium “purified by the power of fire.”

BASEL: Thousands of piccolo players and drummers will gather in this northern Swiss city – well known for its carnival tradition – and strike up at midnight the “Primal Scream March,” a tune specially composed for the event.

ZURICH: The financial capital of Switzerland claims to have the “biggest party in the country” and prides itself on a 16-minute fireworks display to ring in the new year. Twenty American Indian tents have been set up in a park to form a teepee village that will offer food, drink and entertainment (Rumour has it that no tomahawks are allowed).

ST. MORITZ: The glitzy mountain resort stages a Snowboard High Jump Contest that will be broadcast by Swiss television. Former Swiss ice skating queen Denise Bielmann will feature in a Fire-and-Ice Party in the nearby resort of Davos. VIP spotters should have a field day as the Grimaldi, Agnelli and Karajan families are said to be in St. Moritz on the magic night.

CHUR: The eastern Swiss town, known amongst other things for its brewery, has set up a 16-meter high tower built from empty beer cans. Special shows and music concerts will be staged at the tower, where visitors can also watch a live television broadcast of the international Spengler Cup ice hockey tournament played in nearby Davos.

LUCERNE: Due to a shortage of cash the city authorities of Switzerland’s most famous tourism city have cancelled their planned “millennium spectacle.” They nevertheless managed to scrape together a few centimes and will be able to stage a fireworks show.

From staff and wire reports.

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