The Feria de Abril is celebrated over three days at the end of April at the Ermita, Algorfa. In 2023, this took place from Friday – Sunday, 28 -30 April. It’s always during the last week of April, as it’s loosely modelled on the original Feria de Abril, which began as a livestock and horse trading fair in Seville back in 1846 or 1847, depending on where you read it. The idea came from two men who originally came from Bilbao and Barcelona, and they thought it would be a welcome distraction in the aftermath of a devastating hurricane in 1842.
Now, the Feria de Abril in Seville lasts for a week and draws visitors from around the world. Famous visitors in the past included Orson Welles, Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn, and there are over 1,000 private and public casetas, tents with kitchen facilities where you can enjoy food, drink and entertainment. The private casetas are invitation only, hosted by businesses, various organisations and local families, but everyone is welcome in the public tents.
Here in Algorfa, we do it on a smaller scale than Seville, where they need a whole fairground and the festivities continue for a full week, yet our Ayuntamiento manages to put on a spectacular show against the beautiful backdrop of the Ermita Chapel and the Ducal Palace. And the great news is, much of it is absolutely free!
On the large stage, there’s entertainment from musicians, bands and flamenco dancers. For me, the highlight is seeing the children from local dance schools perform. It’s so touching to see the looks of absolute concentration as the execute the intricate steps, and I love to look around at the proud parents. And there’s literally dancing in the streets, as many of the visitors arrive in traditional flamenco dress – men and women – and break into spontaneous pasos to the beat of the music. And pretty much everyone will willingly pose for photos.
Horses may not be traded at the Feria, but there’s plenty of opportunities to see Spanish horsemanship at its best. There’s the daring stunt riders, the dancers who match their steps to the horses – or is that the other way around? I can never tell, because horses and dancers seem to move as one. And the horses love to show off their moves as well, clearly enjoying it as much as the spectators.
No Spanish celebration would be complete without food and drink, and there’s plenty of that available too. Traditionally, sherry was drunk at the Feria in Seville, but here in Algorfa there’s a bit more choice. Feria is a pure celebration of Spanish culture, food and wine, wherever it’s located.
This year, for the first time, there was a flamenco fashion show in front of the Ermita Chapel, and there’s also lots to distract the children. There was also a well-received flamenco workshop.
Feria de Abril really is a celebration for all the family. Keep the last week in April free for Feria, and if you miss it or just want a second bite of the cherry, head into Torrevieja’s May Fair, which is usually a week or so after Algorfa’s Feria. Here’s an overview of the Feria from the Ayuntamiento de Algorfa.
Image credits: Images and video from Ayuntamiento de Algorfa and local residents