By Nicole Hallett and Benny Davis
THE ‘Hogueras de San Juan’ midsummer bonfire festival takes place this week and weekend.
On Saturday night, people will gather at different venues along the coast for various rituals, including jumping over fires, to banish demons and bring good luck for the next year.
In the Marina Alta town of Teulada/Moraira, the night starts at 6pm on Plaza de la Constitution with the building of a bonfire.
This is followed by ‘Dinner Pai Porta’ at 9.30pm accompanied by live music until midnight when everyone will be invited to jump over a fire, presumably not the actual bonfire.
The festival committee have also organised a disco with bar service at the rear of L’Ampolla beach complete with its own fire to leap over at midnight followed by a group swim.
Councillor Mila Caselles says this is a fabulous festival and invites everyone to enjoy the magic night of San Juan.
In many towns, larger than life effigies made of wood, paper and cork, often comically depicting politicians and/or celebrities, are burnt to the ground Sunday evening.
In Alicante City the festivities are taking place over six days ending Sunday night.
Some of the effigies are around 20m high.
Due to cuts to the festival’s budget, the amount spent this year in Alicante was €557,000, €40,000 less than last year and the prize fund for the best effigies was reduced from €28,750 to €17,000.
However, the city will still offer processions, music and light, good foot and various concerts.
Security forces have been stepped up with 352 local police officers, 160 fire-men and 120 Civil Protection volunteers on duty.
Due to the festivities, around 300 roads are cut to traffic and bus routes modified until Monday.
The town hall has urged people to use the buses to get to the various festivities.