Fuengirola International Fair
It’s that time of year again! The twenty-fifth edition of the Fuengirola International Fair is upon us; starting tomorrow (Tuesday) and running until this Sunday 5th May.
The five-day festival, which takes place at Fuengirola’s fairground, is a celebration of cultures from around the globe combining gastronomy, music, dancing, folklore and art.
What can you expect to see?
One of the main attractions at the Fuengirola International Fair is its colourful parade involving over 1,000 participants in the folk costumes of their respective countries, which takes place on Wednesday at 11:30am.
For the rest of the week, 34 individual stands will be set up so that each of the participating nations has a space to showcase and sell its art, crafts, clothes, souvenirs and national gastronomical delicacies, among other things.
When is it on?
Open tomorrow from 7:00pm until 4:00am and then the rest of the week from midday until 4:00am, visitors have heaps of time to wander round the fairground and sample the international delights of the fair.
The first night looks set to attract a lot of visitors, owing to the fact that Wednesday is Labour Day in Spain (a national holiday). Many will be keen to stick it out until the bitter end, since they won’t need to get up for work in the morning and, together with the usually smattering of tourists and expats from surrounding areas, it promises a great atmosphere!
Which nations are represented?
The 34 participating nations span four continents and are (in alphabetical order): Australia, Argentina, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hawaii, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Paraguay, Serbia, Senegal, South Africa, Spain, the UK, Ukraine, the USA, Turkey, Uruguay and Venezuela.
New to the fair this year
Well, for a start, two of the above countries (Canada and Estonia) are debuting at the fair this year.
Then there is the parade. Although not a novelty in and of itself, 5,000 commemorative hats will be distributed among the spectators this year, which will give both families and solo visitors a great souvenir of what promises to be a fantastic day out in Fuengirola.
Lastly, and in the community spirit of the fair, the two hours between 5pm and 7pm on Wednesday and Friday will be silent out of respect for families with relatives on the autistic spectrum.
Why should I go? Atmosphere
As someone who has been before, I would say that the atmosphere alone is reason enough to visit the Fuengirola International Fair. The fairground is absolutely buzzing during the fair and you don’t even have to spend a cent to have a great time.
After all, it’s free to enter, you can watch the parade and other shows free of charge and there is loads to see, hear, smell and discover.
Why should I go? Gastronomy
If you want to check out some of the fair’s attractions, or you inevitably work up an appetite with so much barbecued, grilled, fried and fresh international street food, it is a good idea to have some cash on you, though.
The great quality food (and drink) from around the world is inexpensive and it’s fun to go from stand to stand and sample the delights of each country… especially if you’ve never had – for example – traditional Estonian, Paraguayan or Senegalese food before!
Why should I go? Weather
The temperature will also help, as this week’s forecast puts highs at 21°C and overnight lows at a very respectable 15°C. This means it’ll be perfect walking weather and you can be sure that this parade won't get rained on.
Why should I go? Diversity
Last, but definitely not least, is the fact that the fair has cultural integration, acceptance and harmony between nations as its core values.
In an international political landscape punctuated by extreme values and polarised ideologies, evident in both yesterday’s Spanish General Election and the UK’s Brexit nightmare, it’s refreshing to see people from all backgrounds coming together and celebrating diversity for once.
One word of advice, though. As I said before, this is a very popular event, especially since it runs over a national holiday (on Wednesday), so don’t expect to park anywhere near the fairground if you’re planning on driving there!
Parking is at a premium in Fuengirola as it is, so I’d suggest getting a spot over in Las Lagunas (or area a similar distance away) and walking in, for example.
Are you planning on going to the Fuengirola International Fair this week? Also, leave me a message below if you’ve got any good memories of the event or if you have any recommendations!