The Seville Fair or Feria de abril de Sevilla, takes place in the Andalusian capital of Seville, Spain. Every year, the fair begins two weeks after the Easter Holy Week. This year it will take place from 30 April to 6 May.
History of the fair
The origins of the fair can be traced back to a cattle fair which took place on the grounds of the Prado de Sebastian in 1847. The following year, three dignified families erected ‘casetas’, or tents, at the grounds in order to socialize during the fair. By the 1920s the festival had grown to be one of the largest held in Spain – all because the dignitaries wanted to enjoy a good party. In 1973 the event moved venue to its current location opposite the Parque de María Luisa in Barrio de los Remedios.
The festival today
The fair kicks off at midnight on the Monday with a spectacular fireworks display over the Guadadalquivir River. It’s a definite must-see if you want to enjoy the spring festivities.
The fair is still held in the same place since 1973. This fairground is now known as ‘Real de la Feria’. It’s an enormous site and for this week it becomes a destination on its own. By now, more than 1000 casetas are erected. While private groups and families still own many of them, certain clubs and organizations have also started operating their own tents.
The casetas are very exclusive and can be compared to elite private parties all happening at the same time. To be invited to one of these truly is an opportunity to grab with both arms.
There are, however, also many other festivities that those without invitations can enjoy. At least 15 of the casetas are open to the public, so make sure you get there early to enjoy a drink. The idea is to drink sherry, enjoy conversation and practice your flamenco dancing skills (or simply admire the talents of others).
A few other additions have also been made to the festival since the 19th century. Today, the fairgrounds have many typical festival rides, attractions and even a circus show. Stalls sell delicious eats and drinks and the atmosphere is enchanting.
Every afternoon at 1pm there is a parade – something definitely worth showing up for. Horse drawn carriages parade the site as well as the city and you’ll see women wearing some of the most beautiful, brightly colored, Spanish dresses imaginable. Some days see more than 700 carriages parading the streets and anyone is allowed to join in, so if you really feel like getting involved, ask around as to where you can hire a horse and a carriage and start shopping for your outfit.
Of course, the evenings are the most lively and the parties often last until dawn, when the day simply repeats itself again until the week is out.
A Spanish festival isn’t complete without bull fighting, and Feria de Abril is also known for this. There are fights daily in Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza during the festival.
If you’re Spanish you’ll know exactly how special this festival is. It’s the perfect opportunity to visit your family back home and spend quality time together enjoying the flair only found in your own country. If you can’t make it home for the festival, you could surprise your loved ones at home with a gift, or send money to Spain for them to buy a new flamenco dress. Remind them that you’re thinking of them during this special time in Spain.