Malaga's huge summer fair gets set to start as workers rush to finish on time

Council and business organisers this week.
Council and business organisers this week. / F. SILVA
  • Increased security and advice on being nice to tourists are just two of the initiatives to ensure the feria runs smoothly this year

At midnight tonight, Friday 10 August, Malaga kicks off its huge annual fair with fireworks on the central La Malagueta beach. The official opening of what is Spain's biggest summer feria will mark the culmination of months of intense preparations by local authorities, bar and restaurant workers and entertainers.

This week all were busy putting the finishing touches to plans, which will see normal working life in the city grind to a halt as locals and visitors descend on both the city centre and the feria showground on the western edge of the city. In all, some 1,300 extra, temporary jobs are expected to be created.

Over 1,000 police on duty

The city council brought together all police forces and emergency services this week to finalise their part of the plans. Over 1,000 police officers will be seconded during the nine-day event.

Meanwhile the local bar and restaurant association, Mahos, has been sending out guidelines to its members to ensure their businesses portray the best image of the city.

The festivities in Malaga, which start properly on Saturday and run until the evening of Sunday, 19 August, are unusual because of the twin venues. The so-called Feria de Día (day fair) fills the streets of the old city with dancing, music and celebration from midday until 6pm.

A few kilometres further west, the huge showground opens up at midday and slowly changes its mood, moving from traditional, colourful horse and carriage processions with local people alongside over 100 'casetas', for eating, drinking and dancing, to the bright lights and high energy of the nighttime fairground rides and partying younger generation.

In recent years the town hall has been encouraging more daytime activity at the out-of-town showground with the increasing saturation of the city centre and locals' complaints that the feria had lost its traditional feel.

At their joint meeting this week at city hall, the emergency services called on the local population and visitors to act responsibly and to watch out for anything unusual.

Among the points on the list of top ten things for bars and restaurants to remember, sent out by Mahos, are; decorate your bar and put local food on the menu; always smile at tourists; advise customers to use public transport; recycle and support street cleaners; keep your bar or restaurant at a cool temperature.