IN days of old, it was a couple of windy and dusty corridas, partially attended and soon forgotten. Not any more! The Feria de Almeria is filled with world-class attractions for any taste under the Iberian sun.
Of course, it’s still centred around the Toros. The most renowned bull ranches in the world will be represented as will the top matadors. Limited to just four days, it is an overwhelming pleasure for true aficionados.
Yet the bullring is almost overshadowed by all the other events and sideshows that should command your utmost attention.
Almeria’s newest tradition of a midday fair is blossoming into an entity of its own. Raucous bands bounce about the town. Revellers in crazy costumes poke unmitigated fun at the passers-by. Tapas abound on every corner. New delicacies you’ve probably never tried before.
Slippery, chilled Sherry washes it all down. There is even the new fashionable rage of belting back ice-cold reds. A madhouse of activity and music on every hidden plaza and alleyway. (If you play hard here, it’s impossible to attend the bulls in the afternoon at 7). For those that don’t understand the ancient cultural ‘communion with death’, the midday fair is perfect for you.
On the periphery each night are activities to keep you involved. Boxing championships on the 22nd at 9.30pm and plenty of cooking, sewing, and artistry competitions during that same week. It happens all over the city, but you’ve got to be there to enjoy it.
Almeria’s celebrated Flamenco festival begins tapping from the 25th to 27th with more world-recognised stars strutting their stuff each night. Guided tours of the Alcazaba castle at night and lots of exhibitions of art, both classical and modern. The capital city’s museums have been spruced up and await your attendance.
The star attraction for me will be on the 26th when the ‘Recortadores’ reappear after an absence of four years. These are the fearless lads who escape being pinned on the horns of a bull by their agility of ducking and diving. Your heart will be in your mouth (and should be). It’s at 7pm at the bullring. On Monday there is a free corrida with youngsters from the Almeria school, showing their stuff to the public.
The authentic corridas with the toro bravos begin on Wednesday 27 through to Saturday 30.
The management dynasty of the Choperas have again given Almeria exciting toros and matadors of differing styles for each day. Some matadors put in their own banderillas while others are of the classic, stoic type, offering a complete and recognisable contrasting approach to controlling the beast.
For first-timers, the day to view the event would be August 30. You can get tickets now from the internet. Hotel prices are the same as three years ago but the attractions have multiplied tenfold.