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By Dean Marriott

When looking at the A-Z of places to visit in Switzerland, Zurich, through no fault of its own, may unavoidably be towards the end of the list alphabetically.  However, it tops the list in Switzerland as the largest and richest city, surpassing Geneva in terms of resident millionaires, with over 27% of its inhabitants falling into this category.  That said, Zurich is accessible to all, no matter what your budget may be.  It is a vibrant and diverse city in terms of population and culture, having 31% of the city's population made up of non-Swiss from a total of 166 different countries.

This year, the 24th Street Parade took place on 29th August 2015 and what a spectacular day this was.  With temperatures hitting 32 degrees, in excess of 1 million people descended on Zurich which literally transformed, not simply into the pulsating heart of Switzerland, but that of Europe.

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The Street Parade kicked off at 1pm, with 30 ‘Love Mobiles’, the mobile stages featuring top Swiss and international DJs, making their way at a snail’s pace along the 2.4km route.  Today, the DJs were the Gods and music the religion of every participant.  Crowds parted like the Red Sea as the ‘Love Mobiles’ navigated their course with the DJs, manipulating their mixing decks, at the helms.  With the music styles as rich and diverse as those attending, no one was immune from infection: Techno House, Deep House, Soulful House, Trance, Old School, Psy, you name it, it was there.  6 stages of various sizes also lined the route, playing host to a never ending succession of DJs and dance performances.  

This was the biggest, most incredible street party that I had ever attended.  Despite the crowds, the scorching temperature and the huge amounts of alcohol being consumed, the atmosphere remained friendly and welcoming right through to midnight.  At this point, the after-parties continued in the numerous clubs and bars behind closed doors, reserved for the hard-core party animals.

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The lake formed not only a stunning backdrop to the Street Parade, but also provided numerous venues for a variety of fringe parties.  This year, the draw of the lake proved irresistible for many, myself included.  Although some of the more accessible areas of the lake along the route were very crowded, we walked towards the final stage and found that a rowing club had apparently opened its gates to passers-by.  Therefore, ignoring the German ‘members only’ sign, we entered a relative empty grassed area bordering the lake and spent an idyllic hour of swimming and basking in the sun, to the accompaniment of the local DJ.  Fully refreshed, we re-joined the party before heading back to our apartment, rented for the weekend and located just 100-metres from the festivities.

The Street Parade is describe on its website as ‘a demonstration of love, peace, freedom, generosity and tolerance.’   I found this to be extremely accurate and wouldn’t hesitate encouraging anyone based in Switzerland who hasn’t been to the Street Parade in Zurich, to put this on their To-Do list without a doubt.  The Street Parade 2015’s motto was ‘Magic Moments’.  This certainly tops my Swiss magic moments to date.  

Street Parade 2016 will take place on Saturday 6th August at 1pm.

Author's bio

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Dean Marriott was born in London and educated in the UK and Germany.  He retired from a career in finance, aged 33, and subsequently retrained as an actor and teacher.  From an early age, his passion for languages has underpinned both his professional and social lives.  In his quest for leisure activities, Dean keeps one key thought in mind: if Shakespeare’s words are true and ‘All the world's a stage’, we shouldn’t have to look far in order to be entertained.  We just have to make the time to appreciate it.  

If you are searching for an element of entertainment in your leisure pursuits and have a desire to look beyond the obvious, then Dean will use his artistic eye to point you in the right direction.  

Dean is currently the Director of the World Language Learning Centre at GEMS World Academy-Etoy, where he promotes the idea that language learning is about embodying a new language, not simply studying it. 

http://www.gemsworldacademy-etoy.com/wllc