Anna's Journey

The Feria

In Sanlucar la Mayor on May 15, 2011 at 5:51 pm

Last night, I lay in bed wishing that I hadn’t had green tea at 7pm, and listening to the sounds of Sanlucar floating through my window.

The crow of a rooster? Usually, but no.

The yowl of a stray cat? At times, but not last night.

The chirping of crickets? No, sir.

Last night, the sounds echoing through the wind and distracting me from sleep were the heavy bass of a drum, the rhythm of Sevillanas, and the roar of a crowd.

For the Feria has come to town.

Andalucians are people who will go out of their way to have a good time. They spent months constructing elaborate tents, or casetas, to fill a vacant lot near the center of town. They hung lights throughout the streets, and constructed a giant arch to welcome people to the biggest party of the year. And then, on Wednesday night, Raul the mayor cut the ribbon to announce the start of the Feria. Fireworks sparkled to the sound of a marching band. The Cruzcampo cerveza and white wine flowed freely. Women squeezed themselves into tight fitting, brightly colored flamenco dresses, painted their lips red, men put on their finest white shirts, and arm in arm they strolled the streets of the fair.

The Feria is a county fair with pizzazz. The sleazy carnies are the same, but other than that, this fair is nothing like anything I’ve seen in New England. Each night the town hall hosted concerts with smoke and disco lights that lasted well past three in the morning. Every caseta came complete with tables, a kitchen, bar, and waitstaff. Most were private. Some had televisions and speakers, others had music blaring into the night. Children rode live ponies on the merry-go-round. Trucks parked in the lot selling candy, coconut slices, cotton candy, hamburgers, and – naturally – hot chocolate and churros. People arrived at 6:30pm with their families and stayed out until 6:30 the next morning. At midday, kids rode horses and grandfathers drove their horse and carriages through the streets. People dined on tortilla, jamon, chicken kebab and fried fish.

As we circled the Feria each day with my visiting parents, we stumbled across friends at every corner. I waved to our next door neighbors, we chatted with the guy from the phone store, we complemented our gym teacher on her excellent physique in her flamenco dress, and we were invited into several casetas to partake in the festivities. We danced the choreographed Sevillanas, participated in the line dances, and just enjoyed ourselves with the people who we see every day in our town.

This town in the olive fields of southern Spain has become my community in eight months. I can’t believe that I will only be here for 16 more days before transitioning onto the next adventure (Turkey, here we come!).

And although the Feria kept me from falling asleep last night, I won’t forget the importance that people here place on – quite simply – having a good time.

The arch to the feria

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