Seville Fair 2016. Photo: EFE/Raúl Caro

Horse carriages at the Seville Fair, whose 1000 marquee tents (casetas) welcome thousands of visitors every year. Photo: EFE/Raúl Caro

Seville gets all dressed up for its fair, a Festival of International Tourist Interest

The capital of Andalusia is getting ready for a new edition of the traditional Seville Fair. From 15 to 21 April, there will be more than 1000 marquee tents in town, ready to welcome at least 4 million visitors, as in 2017.
04/13/2018

Seville is almost ready for a new a Seville Fair, the most important event celebrating Andalusian tradition and music. Designated as a Festival of International Tourist Interest, the Seville Fair 2018 is unfolding from 15 to 21 April.

Marquee tents (casetas) lit up by a myriad lamps, horse carriage driving, bullfighting, flamenco singing and dancing… The fair is a festival of colour and joy. It is one of the most popular events in Spain and one of the best-known beyond Spanish borders. It celebrates Andalusian music and tradition while showing the kind, festive spirit of Spanish people.

In 2017, the Seville Fair drew over 3.6 million visitors according to city authorities – almost 500,000 visitors every day. It had an economic impact on the city of more than 800 million euro.

More than 1000 marquee tents

This year’s fair is expected to increase the figures of the 2017 edition. This is to be accomplished by broadening the event’s horizons. For instance, other Spanish cities, like Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao and Alicante are hosting activities within their own versions of the Fair 2018.

The Seville Fair 2018 will start with the lights switch-on, or alumbrao, on 14 April. Thousands of lights will be used to light up the gateway – which this year will be a tribute to the marqude tents of the Círculo Mercantil (Business Society), on the occasion of its 150th anniversary –  and the lanes that make the fairground at the Real de la Feria (270,000 square metres).

The lanes, embellished with garlands, lanterns and lights, will be lined with 1052 marquee tents, where visitors can watch flamenco shows in the fair’s traditional genre, Sevillanas, eat deep-fried fish, or pescaíto frito, Spanish omelette, Ibérico ham or white prawns from Huelva, and wash them down with a glass of sherry (in varieties like fino or manzanilla from Sanlúcar) or a rebujito (a sherry-based cocktail).

Next to the Real you will find a 125,000-square-metre amusement park, Calle del Infierno (Road to Hell), featuring as many as 100 attractions.

Meanwhile, the Seville bullring, La Real Maestranza, will host bullfights every afternoon. A firework show will bring the fair to a close on 21 April.

Origins

The Seville Fair dates back to 1846 when city councillors José María Ibarra, from the Basque Country, and Narciso Bonaplata, from Catalonia (although both living in Seville) got the idea of holding a three-day farming and livestock fair in town in April.

The idea got the approval of Queen Isabella II, and the first fair opened on 18 April 1847, drawing 25,000 visitors. With time, the fair moved away from a trade activity to become a social event – and one of the most popular in Seville, Andalusia and Spain at that.