The centre of a Costa del Sol town is looking very colourful again this summer. For the fourth year running a handmade canopy is gracing the main street of Alhaurín de la Torre thanks to students who attend the council's crochet classes and have created another of these traditional awnings to keep the area cool in the heat.
In fact, the students have been very busy this year because as well as the colourful canopy in Calle Malaga, they have made one for nearby Calle Ermita which consists of umbrella-style sunshades, made using the same technique.
The unusual canopy in Calle Malaga consists of sections which have been crocheted separately over the years and are then sewn together.
It is getting bigger and bigger, too; this summer, it covers a total of 500 square metres and a length of 60 metres, with different motifs and compositions on different themes. Anyone who stands beneath the canopy and looks up at it can expect to see the flags of Alhaurín de la Torre, Spain and Andalucía and images relating to the four seasons of the year, among others.
The wool which has been used to crochet the canopy came from remnants that the students who attend the classes had brought from home.
As mentioned earlier, this year the project has gone a step further and has extended into Calle Ermita, where the canopy of sunshades includes motifs dedicated to the religious brotherhoods of Alhaurín and elsewhere in Malaga province, and also to Ukraine and the LGTB community, to name just a few.
Here, the structure covers the stretch of the street between Plaza de San Sebastián and Plaza Santa Ana, and it has been finished off with pieces of crochet work which were not needed for the canopy in Calle Malaga.
The project began in 2019 as an alternative to using less environmentally friendly products such as plastic to provide shade for the street, and it has now become one of the symbols of summer in Alhaurín de la Torre and elsewhere in the world. In fact, in Alhaurín's twin town of Nueva Iberia (Louisiana, USA), local residents made a similar canopy of their own in April, inspired by the work of these ladies in Malaga province.
The crocheted canopy which was made in Nueva Iberia was featured in a local newspaper, The Daily Iberian, which explained that 23 people contributed pieces for the work. Some of them were sent from elsewhere in Louisiana and some from other states such as Texas and Arizona. The motifs in Nueva Iberia's canopy are also very varied and colourful, and some even include images of wildlife in the area.
Alhaurín de la Torre and Nueva Iberia have been associated for many years. The two towns were twinned in 2009 because many families in the town in Louisiana are the descendents of families from Alhaurín who emigrated there in the 18th century.
When the new canopy was installed, the mayor of Alhaurín de la Torre, Joaquín Villanova, thanked the students for their "work of art", which has been openly admired by many people, here and abroad.
Councillor for the Environment, Jéssica Trujillo, said this initiative had attracted a great deal of attention and is not only a way of protecting the environment but also of promoting local and traditional commerce in the historic centre of Alhaurín de la Torre.