When: Friday 25 April – Sunday 4 May 2014
Where: Parc del Fòrum, Diagonal Mar district
Highlights: the funfair and the flamboyant traditional dress
A southern shindig in Catalonia
An ‘April Fair’ is typically associated with the Andalusian capital, Seville. However in 1971, Andalusian immigrants in Barcelona began their own version of the Feria de Abril de Sevilla which has since grown to become the second-largest Spring Fair in Spain. It’s a colourful and exciting week and the Andalusian population relish the chance to revel in the exuberant traditions from back home. Donning their best flamenco ruffles, southern Spaniards as well as Catalan people and tourists arrive in their droves to sing, dance and enjoy the free-flowing sherry – all punctuated by servings of paella.
So if you want the chance to immerse yourself in the smell of roses, the clicking of castanets and the sight of polka dot-emblazoned señoritas, start planning your trip to Barcelona for this year’s Feria de Abril!
Funfairs and flamenco
Synonymous with the Feria de Abril are the casetas, meaning “little house”. These are small marquees erected in the Fòrum area of Diagonal Mar, each operated by different organisations, from political parties to cultural groups. Each year there are about 70 casetas, filled with happy throngs of people all eating, dancing and celebrating the southern way of life.
A major difference between the Barcelona and Seville festivals is that the casetas in Barcelona are completely open to the public. Everyone is welcome to venture inside, try some traditional food, enjoy a tipple and watch the flamenco shows and performers – some even have dance floors so you can join in the action!
Another important part of the Feria de Abril is the huge fairground, complete with a Ferris wheel overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Candy floss and popcorn are the order of the day, as well as all the traditional favourites and crowd-pleasers – from shooting galleries to dodgems.
It’s the vibe at this event that really makes it special. It’s a real family affair and like most social events in Spain, you’ll find several generations strutting their stuff on the dance floor. Many of the dancers wear traditional costumes, which adds colour and festivity to the occasion; the men wear the traje de corto (short jacket, tight trousers and boots) and the women faralaes or trajes de flamenco which is a flamenco style dress. It’s a flamboyant and unforgettable atmosphere – get your castanets at the ready!