Last week was “Feria de Abril” in Sevilla. It is a non-stop, week-long Fair that takes place in the second half of April when a giant area on the west bank of the Guadalquivir river, also called Real de la Feria, is taken over by rows of casetas, canvas pavilions and tents of varying sizes. Some of the tents belong to eminent families in Sevilla, some to groups of friends, others to clubs, trade organizations or political parties. Each of these casetas fills with flamenco singing and Sevillanas dancing at about 9 pm and continuing until the wee, wee hours of the morning. They wander from caseta to caseta in search of the perfect rebujito (a drink served for Feria with Manzanilla wine and 7up) or food to nosh on. In addition to the merriment, many women dress up in their flamenco gowns and men in sleek fitting suits. Bright colored horse wagons roll down the aisles, offering to take your family to your favorite caseta or simply on a tour to show off your dress from the back of the wagon. At one end of the fair is the Calle de Infierno, or Hell Street, filled with all kinds of rides and midway-type games to try your luck at. So… you can drink, dance, eat, go on rides, play games, stroll, lolly-gag under the lights and gaze at the grand portada, or main gate. It appears that people love the feria so much here, I’ve been told it is a pecado de perderlo. A sin to miss it. Real Sevillanos go every day.
Flamenco fashion is strong, changing from year to year. Polka dots seem to be the classic fabric, but colors and length of dresses change from year to year. The dresses are quite comfortable, but imagine walking around the state fair (in the US), strolling up and down the midway, going on rides and buying mini-donuts… in your dress.
Here’s the Portada. It changes in theme every year. This year’s design and construction cost 500,000 euros and is modeled after the Plaza de Espana, built for the 1929 World’s Fair. It is 40 meters tall and filled with lights. We were only there during the day and have been relying on on-line photos to see the lit up beauty. This Plaza de Espana theme is popular, having also been done in 1969, 1971, and 1983. Last year’s theme was based on a church, La Iglesia de El Salvador. A quick video from 20 Minutos magazine, in Spanish.
These lanterns are called farolillos and are found everywhere throughout the fair, inside the casetas and out.
Here’s a shot of one of the many casetas. Notice the painted chairs and tables. Spanish rosemaling? There are 1,049 of them.. and of those, only about 20 are not private. The town has some public municipal ones too, so we didn’t worry about not being able to get in to drink our rebujito before the rides.
Filled with some lunch from a caseta and cotton candy, these three are ready to hit the midway.