Monday, May 13, 2019

Feria 2019

Our 4th féria.  And still just as magical and amazing as our first -- maybe even better since we knew what to expect and we also ran into so many people we knew...  If you need a refresher on féria, read this post and this post -- it is similar to a super fancy county fair, but really there is nothing that comes close to comparing féria to anything in the states.  Feria is FULL of tradition as it started off as horse/cattle fair/market where the dealers set up casetas (tents) to entertain the clients with wine and food -- nowadays people just gather to celebrate the fair!
As usual, Trevor's coworkers had a very fun lunch the first day of féria -- this is a true family affair and is easily one of my more favorite days of the year.  Everyone dresses up and has an absolute blast eating, drink and dancing the day away.  This year I opted to not go with a typical féria dress -- the skin tight, mermaid style, so many ruffles!  Instead I found an amazing féria like ball gown at El Corte Inglés and it was perfect.  I fit in with the flowers and ruffles, but I could move!

And then, sadly, just like in 2017 our sweet Peanut got super sick... this time with scarlett fever (strep throat that presents as a nasty rash).  It is highly contagious so even though she got started on antibiotics, we needed to keep her away from others for the medicine to kick in.  So that meant no more féria for the weekend (and féria in our town only goes for a long weekend).  And then Trevor got sick.... but I was at least able to sneak away for a little bit to enjoy féria at night.

A bit about the daily schedule to féria -- first, féria doesn't get started until about noon.  This is when things open, but most people don't show up until 2/3pm for lunch.  Many families will come earlier to do the rides (all féria have a caseta/tent area and a ride area and both are very separate).  During the day/afternoon féria is all about socializing, eating, drinking and watching all the horses.  There is a parade (for lack of a better word) of gorgeous Andalucian horses that make big loops around half of the féria grounds (where the casetas are).  There will be single riders, double riders (usually a man and a women) or carriages and you can often hop on (for a price) any of the carriages to take a loop or two around the area.  Most women riding the horses are in traditional mens' féria clothes (think super fancy horsing riding outfits) but occasionally you will see a woman riding side saddle in a féria dress which is pure talent if you ask me!  Then the horses leave probably about 5/6pm and the streets are cleaned... Local dance studios (all flamenco) will perform in the peñas around this time as well.  And then the best part of the whole day is when the lights come on usually around 9pm!  The gates (arches) light up, the casetas and the decorations/lights going over the streets -- it is really magical!  People are usually eating and drinking, sitting in the casetas (tents) or peñas (stand alone buildings) and milling about in the streets and outside talking and hanging out.  Live bands/music start about this time as well -- and everyone starts dancing sevillanas, the type of flamenco dance that is performed during féria.  Then as the night goes on and the rebujitos (typical féria drink) are flowing, many of the younger crowd migrates towards the club side of the grounds (especially as the rides close down, usually around midnight) -- the clubs are still in casetas but usually are playing club/modern music and serving drinks, no food.  And then the party just continues... until the wee hours of the morning (usually until 6/7am) -- in all the casetas and peñas, not just the clubs.  A lot to take in, I know :)

And since I have never actually written in detail about the food that is eaten/served, I should probably do that too.  I did talk about the rebujitos in this post but it is sherry (manzanilla or fino (very very dry) sherry) mixed with 7-Up or Sprite or something lemon/limey and they are delicious and refreshing and go down like water.  I did briefly mention in this post that the food is typical southern Spain tapas -- but most of the food is the same in any caseta or peña so just go where you want to eat!  You will find legs of jamon in every place -- amazingly cut to perfection, this is the jamon that is famous in Spain and should be tried at least once.  You can also get tortilla de patatas (Spanish omelette), pinchitos (chicken made with saffron and served on a skewer), filetes (pork filet sandwiches -- or to make one of these better, get a filete serranito which has the pork filet, jamon and a fried green pepper, these are my personal favorite), buñuelos (small doughnuts topped with whatever you want), pimientos fritos (fried green peppers -- like roasted small, skinny bell peppers covered in coarse salt -- another favorite of mine), chocos fritos (fried cuttlefish)... The list goes on, usually things that are fried and/or pork.  Most of the food is simple but good and there is always patatas fritas (french fries) or churros con chocolate!  And also there are often food trucks selling various hamburgers, pizzas, kebabs, etc -- so there is something for everyone!

So another féria come and gone -- and while it was not the go everyday and experience everything weekend that we have done in the past, we still enjoyed what we could and once again cannot wait for next year!

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