Friday, 11 August 2023
Malaga has been busy finalising preparations for the annual summer fair, which begins this Friday night with the traditional firework display and a drone show.
For more than a week, the city will be a magnet for visitors and locals as the daytime festivities take place in the city centre and continue through the night on the Cortijo de Torres fairground.
Over the last month a team of organisers and city council workers have been braving the heat since 8am every day preparing the site.
The fairground will be a city in itself for the week, its streets lined with 122 'casetas', spaces that stand empty for eleven months of the year and in August are turned into bars, restaurants, concert venues and even nightclubs by associations, institutions and businesses.
Of them, 80 are aimed at family entertainment and 42 are disco-bars. Many of the casetas are run by local associations. There has been a focus on ventilation systems and emergency exits this year as Malaga swelters under extreme temperatures.
The president of the federation of clubs and associations, Manuel Curtido, said: "Given the heatwave and panic that people might not come to Cortijo de Torres, the vast majority of our casetas come with a good installation of air conditioning. This year we also have, among the new regulations, side doors for emergency exits."
Further safety measures on the fairground include the 15 defibrillators installed in casetas on top of those carried by the Local Police officers and Cruz Roja and Protección Civil volunteers patrolling the site.
The long week of activity means a need for hospitality employees, with a demand for waiters, cooks and kitchen assistants.
In fact the main associations of the hospitality sector confirmed to SUR that the week of the fair will mobilise more than 4,000 workers on the fairground. With casetas operating from early afternoon, organisers are forced to double their staff to create shifts. The work will be distributed in two eight-hour slots.
The president of Mahos, Javier Frutos, said the week of the fair is an important economic boost for the industry. "The hospitality business on the fairground has become very professional," he said.
On the other side of the fairground are 91 rides and attractions, 43 for adults and 48 for children. These, along with the fast food vans and other stalls are expected to employ a further 1,400 workers, city councillor Elisa Pérez de Siles announced on Thursday.
Meanwhile every afternoon there will be festivities in the city centre. This year sees a brand new gateway set up at the end of Calle Larios, welcoming fairgoers.
It is expected that city hotels will be 87 per cent full during the fair week.
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