This past week in El Puerto de Santa Maria, a neighbouring town of Rota's, it has been Feria. Literally translated, the feria is a fair, but it is so much more than that! There are your typical fair rides and game booths, but that's not all... Basically feria is a week of fiesta, sherry drinking and sevillana dancing that usually takes place in the middle of May, and that locals look forward to all year long. The fairgrounds are so big, they have to be on the very outskirts of the city.
Once you enter the grounds, the streets are lined with colourful tents (casetas), lanterns, and horses and carriages, making you feel like you've been transported back in time. The casetas are the focal point of the fair. They’re set up by local families, clubs, societies and businesses and within each one is a new and exciting party with a plentiful supply of food, drink, 24-hour merrymaking, and non-stop dancing. It’s common for the locals to “caseta-hop” from one tent to another.
My friend Princess and I spent the whole day on Saturday just wandering around, and taking in the atmosphere of the whole thing. Most of the women and children were dressed in traditional Spanish flamenco outfits that you imagine when you think of Spain (or at least I do!) And everyone is well-versed in a dance called Sevillanas, of which there are 4 different types. These dances all follow a certain pattern, and somehow, all the dancers know which of the 4 is being performed at any given moment, so when you look out at the dance floor, what you see is a perfectly synchronized group of dancers clapping their hands, stomping their feet, twirling their hands around, and switching places with their partners, ALL AT THE EXACT SAME TIME! In case you can't tell, I was exceedingly impressed by the dancing!
Unfortunately, after a long day of drinking rebujitos (fino white wine, like Tio Pepe, mixed with Sprite or 7-Up) and tinto de verano (red wine mixed with lemon-flavoured soda), it was time for us to go home, although many of the locals would stay and party all through the night!