The Fiesta’s over – almost!

Grupo de Coros y Danzas Nazarín

So much has happened since my previous post that I would need to write another book just to relate all the stories!  These are the edited highlights:

Thursday 12th August: Gran de Exultación del Vino.  What a great party that was, as described in my previous post.

Saturday 14 August: National Folklore Festival, with performances in the streets and plazas at 13.00.  Well I was there at 13.00, as were many friends from La Asociación de Amigos de Jumilla who were the hosts, plus two officers from the local police – but where were the performers from the Grupo de Coros y Danzas Nazarín?  They eventually strolled up at quarter past one and by half past the performance had started.  The only problem was the local police had become bored and wandered off, so the Presidente of the Asociación had to direct the traffic!

What I loved about the different groups taking part in the Folklore Festival was the way they all obviously enjoyed performing for us.

At the end of the performance, guess who turned up?  Yes, the local police returned with barriers to stop the traffic coming through.  Sorry, guys, you are a bit too late: we’re all off now for wine and nibbles at the Asociacón’s meeting place!

Except that I didn’t go this year, even though I had an invitation, as John wasn’t feeling well so I had to hurry back home now that I had taken my photos.  I say “hurry”, however I had a slight detour to make.

Saturday 14 August: Miniferia del Vino  We know so many of the local bodegas that it would have been very rude to have ignored this event, wouldn’t it?  Yes, that’s what I thought.  I paid 3€ for a glass and was then able to go round the 13 stands set up by local bodegas in the Jardín del Rey Don Pedro for free tastings.  Not that I had 13 glasses of wine (of course not!) and anyway you don’t get a whole glassful, but I had to say “Hola” to Fina, Fernando, Silvano and many other friends, didn’t I?  And I couldn’t insult them by refusing to try their wine, especially when Silvano was offering his award-winning Monastrell Dulce. “Un poco, gracias!”

Gracias, Silvano!

Saturday 14 August: Entrada Cristiana  Luckily John had recovered by the evening, as we had arranged to meet friends at Bar California so that we could watch the Entrance of the Christians.  This procession has everything: fantastic costumes, music, dancing, drama and a wonderful atmosphere.  At regular points they have a jousting display, however I had to run up the street with my camera to take photos as it didn’t happen opposite our table.

Entrada Cristiana

My photos were a bit dark, which I suspected would be the case, after all the procession was due to start at 10 in the evening.  I say “due to start”, however we weren’t surprised when it started later than that, which is why we had grabbed a table and ordered tapas and a bottle of wine so that we could wait in comfort.

Entrada Cristiana on YouTube

Sunday 15 August: National Folklore Festival with more performances in the street.  We decided to watch the performance in Calle Calvario, as it was a group from Tarragona and we hoped that they would form a casteller or human castle.  We were not disappointed, although they didn’t have much space so it had to be a small castle compared to the nine storeys they usually form in the region of Tarragona.

Building the human castle

On our way back we bumped into Carmelita, who told us to go to a bar up the road where there would be a “comida” at 2pm.  We hadn’t made any plans so the four of us followed her instructions, only to discover that the bar was in a garage! The Asociación de Vecinos de San Antón were providing lunch, sangria and wine for the folk group from Asturias , however we were immediately welcomed, told that we were “Jumillanos” as well as being  ”Ingleses”, and asked whether we wanted sangria or vino.  You cannot beat Spanish hospitality!

They can't stop dancing!

After the meal, a couple of the musicians started playing and the dancers soon joined in.  Over two hours later we continued our journey home.

Monday 16 August: Entrada Mora  Another 10pm start, more or less.  Our previous strategy of getting there early and grabbing a table had proved successful, so this time we headed to Bar Canovas.  A table outside? Tick.  Bottle of wine and tapas? Tick. Camera ready? Tick. Procession starting on time? No way! Not that we minded waiting: sitting outside the bar on a lovely August evening wasn’t exactly a hardship.  We all agreed that, brilliant though the Entrada Cristiana on Saturday night had been, the Entrada Mora was even more exciting.

Entrada Mora

We enjoyed watching a dramatic re-enactment of a damsel in distress being rescued from the dark forces by our hero, although we weren’t really sure what it was all about!  Watch the video below, then if you know more than we do, please leave a comment explaining its significance!

Entrada Mora

Tuesday 17 August: Representación de las Embajadas y Parlamento de Moros Y Cristianos  John and I had stumbled across this last year, and thoroughly enjoyed it, so we persuaded four other Brits to join us on the Paseo Poeta Lorenzo Guardiola.  The performance was a brief history of the Castillo de Jumilla, which was originally held by the Moors until the Christians captured the castle.  Lots of drama and clashing of swords, which incidentally weren’t plastic imitations judging by the sound of metal against metal, with a few sparks flying! 


Thursday 19 August: Cabalgata Tradicional  This is the highlight of the Fiesta de la Vendimia so far as John and I are concerned.  We had persuaded several friends to come along and watch this procession, so we decided to book a couple of tables at Bar California.  Being optimistic we arrived at 8pm, although the procession wasn’t due to leave until 8.30.  Our major mistake was ordering a second bottle of wine, just before the procession reached us!  We knew many of the participants, who handed us plastic glasses of wine and sangria, and even small bottles of wine!  The floats were brilliant, the atmosphere was amazing, with lots of music and dancing, and it was lovely to recognise and be recognised by so many of the people taking part.

Cabalgata tradicional

Friday 20 August: Desfile de Carruajes y Caballos  I was due to fly to London on Friday to help my daughter Vicky celebrate her 40th birthday, however I had already packed and I didn’t want to miss the horses and carriages on Friday morning.  I was hoping that for once the event would start on time, however it wasn’t to be.  Still, it was worth the wait to watch the beautiful horses parading past us.


Saturday 21 August: Gran Cabalgata del Vino  This is the famous (or should that be infamous?) procession on the final Saturday of the Fiesta de la Vendimia.  To be quite honest, although it’s good to watch (mainly young) people enjoying themselves as they get drenched with red wine, once you have seen it you don’t really need to see it again.  Plus I had an important date in London!  John went though with a couple of friends, so this is his photo.

Apparently 80,000 litres of wine and sangria were sprayed over the 75,000 participants who came from Alicante, Albacete, Valencia and Murcia provinces and even the Canary Islands.  John saw several busloads of people arriving, however in spite of all the strangers in town there were no serious incidents.  I suspect that there were a few sore heads the following day though!

So the Fiesta is over for another year, and life will return to normal – except that we had a message from our friend Toñi, telling us that there is a Fiesta in Torre del Rico and would we like to go there?

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