This Friday marks the inauguration of the 2018 edition of the legendary Feria de Málaga, which transforms the nerve centre of the Costa del Sol into a colourful, cultural and – for many young people – hedonistic hub until Sunday 19th August…
Every year, thousands of people attend what is certainly the main summer event in the province and widely-regarded to be the most anticipated celebration in the whole of Andalucía. Unlike other fairs of its kind, it is celebrated in two different official fair areas: in the historic Old Town and at the El Real de Cortijo de Torres fairground.
While the programme of events at both sites is full to the brim and there are music concerts on Malagueta Beach, food and wine stalls, museum exhibitions, flamenco performances, bullfighting events, equestrian shows and a whole host of kids’ activities, there are some must-dos for every fair-goer.
The August Fair is kicked off by a Málaga-born celebrity or person of note giving an official announcement of the start of the festivities, which is accompanied by a fireworks display. This takes place on Malagueta Beach on the first evening in front of vast crowds, and this year it is the turn of writer and journalist Pablo Aranda to do the honours.
In previous years, other high-profile names such as Julio Iglesias, Antonio Banderas, Pasión Vega, Diana Navarro and María Teresa Campos have read the Festival Proclamation.
The following morning (once hangovers have worn off), it is customary to participate in a mass pilgrimage to the Basilica of Santa María de la Victoria, where flowers are offered to the patron saint of the city. The pilgrimage is made either on foot or on horseback, and is led by a flag-bearer chosen for his/her professional or social work over the preceding 12 months.
That evening at El Real de Cortijo de Torres, fair-goers have the chance to marvel at the artistic lighting of the façade of the fairground building, which also serves as an inauguration of this site and is one of the best-attended attractions over the course of the week.
The origins of the Fair are deeply-rooted in Spanish culture, the reconquest of the country and the starting point of Spain’s imperial potency.
On 19th August 1487, the Catholic Monarchs – Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragón – recaptured the city of Málaga from the Moors in one of the longest sieges of the reconquista. However, it wasn’t until four years later in 1491 that, in conjunction with other religious festivities, the August Fair became a truly public and widespread celebration of the Catholic Monarchs’ successful reconquest.
Given that the regaining of all territories occurred in 1492 and the unification of Spain happened not long afterwards, the timing of the festival’s inauguration was extremely significant and could explain why it continues to take pride of place in the Spanish cultural calendar to this day.
Nowadays it is most definitely worth a visit, if only to soak up the unique atmosphere and flavour of the events, performances and public spaces that are modified for the duration of the special Fair.
For the full programme of events with times and locations (in Spanish), click here>>