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HARVARD — A long-running tradition is nearing the half-century mark on Lancaster County Road. For the 48th year in a row, the Swiss Society of Boston held their annual Swiss National Day celebration at the home of Harvard Selectman Peter Warren and his wife, June. The Warrens have hosted the event since its inception in 1961, and this year saw some 200 people came out to frolic, reunite, dance, eat and revel in all things Swiss.

“I get a kick out of it,” said Mr. Warren, whose mother is of Swiss descent, “so many kids come. There are new generations here because their parents came here as children. That’s a tradition that you don’t see anymore.” Warren moved into his grandfather’s Lancaster County Road property in 1959. Two years after that, the Warrens started hosting the annual Boston-area Swiss event.

Society President Marianne Biber immigrated to the United States from Switzerland in 1956. She leads the local chapter that dates back to 1865 in Boston. The organization boasts some 400 families from across Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.

Biber noted the annual event commemorates the pact formed in the year 1291, where leaders of three cantons (or states) swore eternal allegiance to one another to unify against the Austrian Habsburg family’s rule. This past July 4, the United States celebrated 233 years of independence from British rule. In comparison, on August 1, Switzerland will celebrate its 718th year of independence.

Biber encourages people to join the group. “Just sign up,” she said. “Especially if you feel like making new friends.”

Rob Busser of Dunstable has been coming to the event “ever since I was a small child” some 40 years ago. His father was from Switzerland. Busser practiced BB rifle sharp shooting on a make-shift range before heading back to a picnic area he shared with friends both near and far.

Bill and Ginger Watts and daughter Ella of Stow Road have come to the event for the past five years. This year, Busser also hosted a friend from London. Lynn Healy said, despite living in Europe, she’d never been to the alpine nation. “I came all this way to the United States for a taste of Switzerland,” Healy joked.

Information about the Swiss Society of Boston can be found at

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