Hello All -
Well, whether or not it was worth all the buzz or not, La Ferria sure was an amazing draw here in Jerez De La Frontera. We were able to go on Friday night. We walked a good 2 miles before we started to see signs of life. The downtown area was virtually lifeless, the bars and sidewalk restaurants, usual hubs of activity, were closed for the event. As we drew closer, signs of life slowly emerged in the form of the horse and carriage riders, and the young Spanish men and women in their traditional Flamenco attire.
Coming to the fairgrounds itself, the place was teeming with activity, like a beehive, just buzzing in the air. I want to say that this was one of the loudest experiences I have ever had where no spandex or loud guitars were employed! As you walked in, the hooves of horses occupied most of the sound spectrum. What was left of the sound spectrum were the thousands of people talking and the bars on the right and the left of the walkway, blaring flamenco and "regatone" music. "Regatone" is a crossing of mediterranean dance music and rap. It is the popular music of the youth.
The bars were each overflowing with people enjoying their tappas (appetizers) and their famous Jerez wine. The young and the old occupied the same spaces together, talking and enjoying the evening. Some bars were more lively than others and as you walked by, you were able to witness many people dancing flamenco, which is truly a beautiful, artful sight.
We finally got to the kids part, which had all the typical rides and attractions one would see at a fairground. As you can see in the accompanying photo, our kids enjoyed the little Spanish car ride...twice!! It occurred to me at this moment just how easy it would be to lose our kids here and not really know where to turn to find them. A worse fear was how they would feel if they were lost away from their family. This ruined any chance I had of enjoying the Fair at this point, as all I could do was make sure the kids were right there next to me at every possible second! But as all kids, they walked around fearlessly, if not ignorantly of the dangers that surrounded them. Thankfully, none of those dangers came to fruition and we all made it home intact.
La Ferria was an interesting experience, one that captures the hearts and minds of the people of this town. It is a highly anticipated event and is also an event that causes sadness at it's passing. Many of the youth are said to cry at the end of Ferria and talk all year about the coming of the event again. It is a microcosm of Spanish society. Fulfillment is found in community, traditions of the past and a celebration of the present with little thought to what happens in the future. Now that La Ferria is over, things will return to the way they were and the only thought of the future will be the next Ferria.
Blessings To The Friends Of Spain,