Last year crocodile meat was the most exotic thing on offer, but this year the addition of South Africa has brought zebra burgers and python tapas. The 24th edition of the popular Feria de los Pueblos took place on the Fuengirola fairground from last Friday to Tuesday this week. It was a fun, cosmopolitan event promoting the gastronomy, culture and folklore of the participating countries. Among those represented were the UK, Finland, America, Cuba, India and Morocco. Six regions of Spain were also represented, including Andalucía and the Canary Islands.
Puerto Rico, South Africa and the Ukraine took part for the first time this year, and there was also a new gastronomic fair called Sabores de lo Nuestro. This was located in a central marquee and offered visitors the opportunity to sample and buy traditional local products such as cheeses, cured meats, spices, herbs and sauces.
Since its first day the streets were full of both local residents and tourists alike. One of the highlights was the colourful parade with representatives of all the countries involved, which left the Plaza de España at 11.30am on Saturday.
Dancers and musicians entertained the crowds, who were treated to a display of traditional costumes from around the globe. The British contingent was led by members of all sections of the 1st Fuengirola Scout group.
The bars and casetas, open from 1pm until 4am, were brightly decorated with each country's individual colours and many of the visitors dressed in traditional costumes.
Live music and dance performances took place throughout the afternoons and included jazz, reggae, flamenco and rock. The popular David Bowie tribute band, The Spiders from Marbs, were performing in the British caseta every day of the festival.
The most popular stands for food were Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, which offered large barbecues at competitive prices. There were plenty of other options for vegetarians however and a large selection of sweet treats on offer.
The festival catered for a young demographic with an atmosphere very similar to that of the town's Feria del Rosario in October. As a group of young men explained at the entrance to the Cuban caseta: “You have to take advantage of the event, because it's like another Feria and very few towns are lucky enough to hold two,” they said, holding piña coladas in their hands.
The most popular stands for drinks tended to be more tropical. The Hawaiian, Colombian, Puerto Rican and Cuban stands were all hives of activity, offering cocktails of the sweetest, most exotic fruits.
Popular stands such as the Netherlands, Chile, the UK and Senegal have become firm favourites at the festival, known for its fun atmosphere and delicious array of food.