Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf, Gollum and company will be feted this weekend in Leukerbad in an event billed as Switzerland’s largest fantasy festival.
The Middle-earth festival, dedicated to the world of British writer J.R.R. Tolkien, has attracted 1,500 celebrants from 17 countries to the spa town in the canton of Valais, according to organizers.
The four-day extravaganza, which ends on Sunday, features concerts of medieval music, jugglers, acrobats, dancers, jousting between knights and participants wearing costumes of characters from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit.
This year marks the sixth time the festival has been held since it was launched in 2001, the last one being organized in 2005.
Since then, it appears there has been a pent-up demand from Middle-earth aficionados.
When tickets went on sale for this year’s edition last October, they were snapped up online in five minutes, according to the Leukerbad tourist office.
The resort community, known in French as Loèche-les-Bains, is otherwise famous for its thermal baths and as a centre for mountain sports.
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