IN keeping with a glorious tradition stretching all the way back to the 13th century reign of Alfonso X the Wise, Murcia launches its very own feria later, one of the largest in Spain and a celebration set to dominate the next 13 days in the sunny city.
Beginning on September 1 with the arrival of the Virgin de la Fuensanta, the feria will see an extraordinary medieval vibe take over the city with funfairs, traditional food and cattle fair. Dozens of miscellaneous markets will be set up with food stalls and craft stands interspersed with live music venues and dramatic re-enactments of the historical events that shaped modern Murcia.
Bullfighting will take place every day and a huge variety of gigs featuring local artists will lighten up the evenings as thousands of people descend on the old town to soak up the special atmosphere.
Highlights will include the international folklore festival of the Mediterranean, displays of musketry and duelling from the Moors and Christians, medieval exhibitions, and a terrific local event that will see 30 young Murcian fashion firms showcase their innovative designs in a catwalk contest.
The Garden of Malecon offers classic Murcian delights, while on September 2 there’ll be a fantastic fireworks display on the Segura river. Saturday will see the fabulous Lemon Pop festival, and Sunday, known as ‘the day of the horse’ will feature dozens of horses and carriages trotting through the streets.
Throughout the week children’s fairs, folk music, rock bands, karaoke and other fun-packed activities will keep everyone busy until Tuesday September 13 when the feria ends with a climatic mountain pilgrimage, taking the Virgin de la Fuensanta back to her resting place for another year.
The local culture department has been quick to sense an opportunity and earlier this week unveiled its brand new TourismMurcia mobile phone application. The interactive technology will allow guests visiting Murcia for the festivities to find their way around different points of interest and find out what’s happening, where and when.
Local residents should be wary of likely travel restrictions as almost 500 police are deployed alongside soldiers, firefighters and volunteers to ensure the event goes off smoothly and that people are safe at some of the more crowded fixtures.