Seville’s April fair

By | Category: Travel destinations

SevilleThe April fair is one of the most popular of Seville’s fiestas and attracts people from abroad as well as from within Spain.

Originally a cattle show, it began in 1847 but, today, is firmly fixed amongst Spaniards as a time for having fun, dancing and socialising. For a week more than a thousand “casetas” (tents) are installed in the fairground area and become second homes for locals.

The fiesta officially begins at midnight on a Monday with the “lighting test”, the illumination of the thousands of multi-coloured light bulbs in the fairground and covering the main gateway, which is almost 50 metres high and has a different motif every year. Once inside the gate you come to the “casetas”, and these belong to groups of friends and associates, and are a family space where acquaintances, relations and guests are welcomed in and plied with delicious food and wine; there is singing, good conversation and of course, “sevillanas”, the local version of flamenco dancing. The festive atmosphere spills over into the area outside the tents: people usually end up dancing in the street, and the friendly personality of the Sevillian people will entice passers-by into the celebration. Most of the stalls are privately owned and can be entered only by invitation from the members or their friends. There are however public tents which are open to all. The information office at the entrance to the fair will tell you which they are.

Throughout the fair, many people wear typical Andalusian dress: the men wear the outfit of the farmworker, and the women wear flamenco or gypsy dresses. By day the fair is filled with horsewomen, riders and richly festooned carriages. This is what is known as the horse and carriage parade, in which you can take part by renting a buggy with a driver from the regular service. Next to the fairground is the Calle del Infierno (Hell’s Street), a lively recreational area with a host of attractions for children and adults, and stands selling cold drinks and snacks. Another vital component is the bullfight: every afternoon people crowd into the Plaza de la Maestranza bullring to see the day’s bullfight (tickets and passes can be bought in advance by telephone or on the Maestranza bullring’s own website). And after a week of merrymaking there is a spectacular fireworks display at midnight on Sunday to send off the April Fair for another year.

This year the fair begins on  April the 21st, 2015 and lasts until April the 26.

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