Horses are an integral part of the Fuengirola ‘Feria’. G.P.
Tonight sees the close of the Fuengirola ‘feria’, the annual six-day fair in honour of the town’s patron saint, Virgen del Rosario Coronada.
Some 900,000 people, according to the Town Hall, have attended this year’s event which, as always, combined religious aspects with a healthy helping of hedonism.
From a mass dedicated to the saint and a procession in her honour, to a huge funfair and scores of ‘casetas’ where people partied from lunchtime until the early hours in typical dress, and from masterful horse displays to traditional bullfights, the town, like it does every year, showed its “most Andalusian side.”
Speaking to SUR in English this week, the Mayor of Fuengirola, Esperanza Oña, said: “Fuengirola fair is always a ‘must’ for anyone of any age and any taste, who wishes to share a few days of fun with others, thanks to the full schedule of events that the Town Hall organises each year between 6th and 12th October.
“It is a hugely significant event for the town and its origins go back more than 150 years.”
She added: “The ‘feria’ attracts thousands of visitors from all over Andalucía and Spain, plus a high number of foreigners come to Fuengirola to enjoy the traditional flavour of its fiesta.”
Irish holidaymaker, Lucy Parton, was one such visitor. After a day at the festivities this week she said: “I’ve never been to a proper Spanish fair before it was everything I’d hoped it would be with typically-decorated bars, immaculately groomed ladies wearing colourful flamenco dresses spontaneously dancing in the streets, huge paellas, beautiful horses, free-flowing chilled sherry and lots and lots of friendly people. It was great craic.”
Local resident, Andrew Carter, who runs a bar in the town, is equally enthusiastic about the annual celebrations, albeit for a different reason. He comments: “The ‘feria’ always provides a good boost to business after the summer. Whilst it is true that most happenings take place in the ‘feria ground’, the majority of establishments in the town centre also get into the swing of things as the bars, restaurants and hotels are always much busier than they would be without the ‘feria’. It really is a town-wide party.”
This is a sentiment that the Mayor is keen to stress. “The feria atmosphere extends throughout Fuengirola and it ha a large positive impact on the economy of the whole town. Everyone gets into the spirit, perhaps because, due to it being held between 6th and 12th October, it is the last big Andalusian fair of the year.”
However, some business owners tell this newspaper that trade is down on previous years. Fuengirola restaurateur, José Luis Gutiérrez, for instance, notes: “My takings are down around 30 per cent on last year and about 40 per cent down on the year before that.
“Yes, there have been lots of people in the streets, bars and restaurants during the ‘feria’, but not many are spending money like they used to.”