AKA Fun at the Fair!!
We moved to Alhaurín el Grande in December but due to problems back in the UK we had to go back only 4 days after moving in to our new house. A month later we had to go back again, so we are only just starting to settle in. So I was delighted to find that the feria was on and we hadn't missed it. Although it started on the Wednesday with various smaller happenings it finished on the Saturday, but we went on the Friday which was the main day with all the shops closed and the bars serving drinks and food on the street.
The feria started in the middle ages for businesses to sell their wares and although traditionally men, women and children wore national costume it is becoming less so now due to the high cost of buying clothing. However, it can still be seen in many areas where tradition is valued.
I for one would hate to see it disappear completely as this is what makes Spanish fairs so unique. Alhaurin el Grande is steeped in history from the Roman occupation to the Moors moving into the area, hence the Moorish sounding name of the town. Ferias in Andalucia start in April in Seville and if you were a real party animal and wanted to, you could find one to visit in a village or town every month until October.
Having parked the car in the town centre we walked to the old town where it was being held. You could feel the excitement in the air as we got closer and passed the most beautiful girls in amazing dresses and men in traditional garb many looking like Spanish cowboys.
The music got louder the nearer we got and the excitement mounted. The atmosphere was amazing; people meeting up with friends and family, lots of laughter and fun. Although the drinks flowed we never saw anyone drunk or out of order. What a pleasure. It was crowded as expected but somehow we could walk comfortably through the streets without getting jostled. We were suprised at how many people we actually knew and the people we didn't were very welcoming and friendly.
They had set up a stage in the square which someone said they called the shiny square as the floor looks permanently wet. It's worth going just to look at that and the church. By the time we got there a show was being performed which was followed by other smaller shows mainly for children and lots of competitions. It was delightful seeing the smallest of children in their feria dresses. Parents put money away every week to save for this day as the clothes alone cost a fortune.
I suppose it's like any feria in any of the towns and villages but what made this special for us was that this was now our town, where we had decided to live and we were not viewing it as a tourist but somehow seeing things in a different light. When it's your permanent home it seems to change your perspective on the way of life in Spain and it made us proud to be part if it. We didn't get to the fair ground with the traditional rides and amusements but I'm sure the fun went on till the early hours.