The biggest Christmas fair for children

The biggest Christmas fair for children

/ Salvador Salas

  • MIMA is expecting the number of visitors this year to be even higher than last year's 30,000

  • The sports and entertainment fair has a new look to mark its 15th anniversary at the Palacio de Ferias y Congresos in Malaga

Raúl Marcos is a regular visitor to the MIMA. He always gets very excited as Christmas approaches, not just about the end of term or the thought of the gifts the Three Kings might bring him, but because of the visit he and his cousins make to this leisure and sports fair which takes place every year at the Palacio de Ferias y Congresos. "We go early in the morning and we don't go home till we have been on absolutely everything," he said.

This eight-year-old has become something of a specialist in the activities at the MIMA fair. This year, there are two new attractions, a toboggan run and a mobile planetarium, which was the first thing he wanted to try. "Every year we go and see what's new first, because later on there are long queues," said his mother, Eva Pérez, as she waited while her son had another ride.

After 15 years the MIMA fair, which is organised by the Unicaja Foundation, has become an important part of Christmas for many. This year, more than 4,000 children are expected to take part in school visits, and the total number of visitors topped 30,000 last year.

The organisers explain that this year the MIMA has been updated to coincide with its 15th anniversary. Visitors will find there are more attractions and content for all the family, and new facilities where sport, technologies and environmental and social activities play a greater role. This year there is also a specific area where workshops on subject such as cookery, first aid, pet care and gardening take place.

Laura Escanda, who is twelve years old, is another regular visitor to this fair, with its enticingcombination of entertainment and education, and she particularly likes the trampolines and dodgem cars. She says it is a great way to have fun in the run-up to Three Kings Day.

"I normally come once with my friends from school and then again with my family," she said. On this occasion, though, her first visit is with her aunt. "When I heard that it was opening today, I just had to bring Laura and we rushed to get down here," she added.