Vida Andaluza – Gaucín Feria

10 AUGUST 2017 – FERIA

Gaucín is a Goldilocks village, in terms of size, it’s ‘just right’.  Still very much a village – intimate, informal, unspoiled – and with a population of 2,000 the place is bigger than most of its neighbours in the Lower Genal Valley and lively enough to organise an event every month, and sometimes every week.

The big set pieces usually attach to the religious calendar: Semana Santa at Easter culminating in the Bull Run, Santo Niño at the end of August, Los Reyes in January.  And then there are the secular events, the highlight being Art Gaucín, the annual exhibition by the village’s resident artist population that covers the end of May, and sometimes nudges into early June.

Gaucín’s annual fair – or Feria – is mostly secular (but with an honorary religious sponsor, Virgen de las Nieves – Our Lady of the Snows), and takes place around the first Sunday of August.

Having learned a hard lesson at the village’s Santo Niño celebrations last August, we armed ourselves with top-notch earplugs, and then didn’t need them as Feria runs on the other side of the village – the house has been really quiet.  Our over-the-hill friends (geographically-speaking) have temporarily shifted their lives, sleeping all day and getting up in time for sundowners…there’s no hope of a wink of rest until 6am at the earliest.

As usual the Ayuntamiento kept us all well-informed, here’s a slideshow of this year’s itinerary 🙂

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We caught the final weekend so missed out on some must-see events at the start of the week – performances by Biagra and a passionate and moving display of Flamenco – something we’ll look forward to next year!

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The village streets were brightly garlanded, quiet in the heat of the day, and then busy, busy all through the night.  Francisco – dressed up in his ‘3-times-a-year watch’ and a smart, collared shirt – invited us to go to the fair with him for ‘cervecitas!‘, and we headed out at 11pm, ahead of the main crowds who started arriving around midnight.

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The funfair I’m sure would be familiar the world over, although the signage was perhaps a bit more ‘page 3’ than we are used to these days…

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…but the music, catering and community events were all distinctly Spanish, good-natured, warm and generous, and despite hitting its stride each night between midnight and 4am there were at least as many small children as adults enjoying the party.

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I won’t trouble you here with stories about small boys, horse manure and fire crackers, but I did have to run for cover more than once!  The village can sometimes feel like a free-range joke shop

Sunday was a highlight for us.  We were invited to join Spanish neighbours at the (free!) village lunch in the Pabellón.  Limitless sherry, dulce and fino, served in the traditional way…

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…and accompanied by plates of crunchy aubergine crisps and delicious jamon iberico.  And we noted that if you turn up on a horse, everyone buys you a beer too…

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This fellow didn’t go thirsty!  Hope he lives nearby.

At 3pm it seemed the whole village, plus all their friends and relatives, formed a respectful queue but despite the throng in the Pabellón they failed to finish the 3 gigantic pans of paella (see no.2 in the picture below) cooked and served by their neighbours.

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And as usual at all the big events the wearing of national dress, Flamenco or Gitano, was encouraged and shown off during the parade of the Reina de Feria.  My favourite outfit in the middle below…guapísimas!

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The party atmosphere continues to bubble away in the heart of the village – why drop the pace when Santo Niño is just round the corner – even though the fair has now moved on and the bunting only survives in photos and fluttering in the breeze in tourists’ home movies.

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