Solemn start to Almería’s feria but a good time is being had by all

Almería’s feria opened with a five minute’s silence last Friday (August 18) in honour of those killed in the Barcelona terror attacks of the previous day.

The opening was low key, with many official acts being put off until Saturday as a sign of respect to the fallen. The official switching-on of the fería lights, the town-cryer’s announcement of the opening of the festivities and a free concert by Olé Olé were all delayed 24 hours.

Mayor Ramón Fernández-Pacheco (PP) said: “When this terrible act occurred we in the town council were unanimous across all the political parties in our desire to send a message of support and solidarity to our brothers in Catalunya, and so we decided to delay the official opening acts by a day.”

But residents were determined not to allow terrorists to put them off enjoying their annual fería, which this year runs from August 18-26, and attendance is believed to be higher than ever.

Almería’s city fair is generally considered to be the least touristy of the big city fairs of Andalucía, and does not attract many international tourists according to the city tourism board.

The fair purposefully reaches back into its roots to prepare each new edition, and this year the massive entrance to the fairground (recinto ferial) has been decorated to resemble the entrance to the city marketplace.

Although the main festivities are corralled into the recinto ferial, celebrations and competitions are taking place throughout the capital city.

Dog comp in Almería’s Rambla

One of the most popular events over last weekend was the XXIII Canine Festival of Almería, which took place in the amphitheatre located on the central Rambla avenue. More than 50 canines took part this year in front of hundreds of interested on-lookers. Pets competed in many different categories, but the most popular category – and the one that generated the most discussion amongst participants – was that of ugliest dog, which eventually went to dual winners Negri and Cuca, both mongrels. The owner of Pussy the dog said he was “delighted” to have won the category of “dog which most looks like its owner” and that he would display the trophy with pride.

Traditional dancing is also taking place throughout Almería, with spontaneous outbreaks of flamenco and folkloric dance happening on street corners. The International Festival of Folkloric dance, held on Sunday, attracted participants from as far away as Mexico.

The feria is running until this Sunday, so get your fat ass up there and enjoy a bit of traditional Spanish fare! Midday for the costumes, preening and music, evening for the socialising and night-time for getting down with the family to the music. Chicken on gas spits available everywhere for the carnivores.

Horseback riders in traditional dress arrive at Almeria’s 2017 feria
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