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Malaga's longest-ever fair divides opinion as it draws to a close

Feria is for everyone to enjoy.
Feria is for everyone to enjoy. / Salvador Salas
  • Organisers and tourism and catering businesses have praised the turn-out for this year's event but there have been complaints from business owners and locals alike

It's not too late to take part in Malaga's feria, the biggest summer fair in the south of Spain, which has two days to run at full throttle on its two sites, before winding up late on Saturday night.

Organisers and tourism and catering businesses have praised the turn-out for this year’s event, which started on the evening of 14 August and will have run for a record ten days. City hotels have said that they are at 95 per cent occupancy, while bars and restaurants hope to see a four per cent increase in takings, reflecting the longer duration.

The good numbers come on top of what tourism bosses hope will be a bumper summer for Malaga and an increase of five per cent in business. However some have been worried by the large numbers and antisocial behaviour in the centre of the city.

Carlos Pérez-Lanzac, president of the Andalucía holiday-letting association called for “better security and cleaning” and hoped that the city council “would fine behaviour such as drunken tourism”, so the quality level of the fair would improve.

Some bar owners in the central Plaza de la Merced have complained that they have been stopped from selling takeaway alcohol while the council lets people bring their own drink onto the pavement nearby.

By Thursday, one week into the celebrations, there were signs of ‘feria fatigue’. Crowds were starting to get smaller both for the city centre activities until 6pm and the out-of-town Real fairground, open from lunchtime into the early hours.

“This year, it feels like the feria will never end, but, hey, you’ve got to make the most of it,” said Malaga resident, Javier, as he waited for his friends in the centre of the city.

After the lights go out on the Real fairground on Saturday night, the final event will be the more sedate renactment on Sunday, 25 August, of the entry of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabel into Malaga in 1487, starting on Plaza de la Aduana at 8pm.