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Welcome to everything you need to get the most out of this experience!

 

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First, A little history...

The Feria de Abril dates back to the year 1847 when Isabel II opened the fair as a livestock show. That very first fair had a total of 19 casetas (little party tents) and it was a huge success. Just three years later, in 1850 the fair was patronized by 60,000 visitors and the selling of livestock was just one discrete area of the event, now primarily a social event for eating drinking and dancing together.   Today the Feria boasts over 1,500 casetas, and is by far on of the biggest celebrations of the year.

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The casetas...

The main grounds are composed of private and public tents called casetas. They are set up in rows like streets, and decorated beautifully.  You can only enter a private caseta if you are invited by a member.  Membership comes from your church, neighborhood, club etc.  There are also 7 public casetas within the fair grounds that are open to everyone.  

What to eat...

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The most typical way to eat is ordering raciones (large dishes) to share. Friends and families dig into platos (plates) of pescaito frito (fried fish) like chocos (calamari),  adobo (marinated dogfish), and sip on sherry or the more typical drink at the fair, the rebujito (sherry and 7 Up). Late in the evening into the early hours of morning patrons tend to visit the food stands located in the adjacent amusement part to eat buñuelos or churros (fried dough) and chocolate.  Yum!

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What to wear...

The traditional dress for women at the fair is called the traje de gitana (gypsy dress) and each one is distinct, lending to the distinct air of the Fair itself. They come in bright, beautiful colors with polka dots, patterns and ruffles. Each year, the style changes a bit, and the new fashions set the standard for the rest of the year.  Some women have numerous dresses for one year’s April Fair knowing full well that it will go out of style the following year.

Men wear a traditional suit called the traje de corto (short suit) and a wide brimmed hat with boots, belt and depending on the style that year, scarves, suspenders, vest etc.

If you are visiting, you do not need to dress traditionally, although dressing nicely is a must... some easy ways to accessorize include a mantoncillo (hair comb) or large earrings for women for a little flair, and men can sport a suit with boots and hat.  The fairgrounds are covered in dirt after all, so bear in mind that whatever you wear will get filthy!

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When to go...

There are two distinct lives to this celebration.  During the day, horse carriages and riders crowd the streets, Music spills from the tents, and kids roam free.  
In the evening, the carnival rides light up, and the round paper lanterns, called farolillos, come on. The casetas blast rumbas and sevillanas, and everyone switches from rebujito and beer to mixed drinks, preparing to be up all night long, greeting the morning with chocolate and churros.

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What else to do...

The amusement park of the Feria is located in an area called La Calle del Infierno, which can be translated to Hell’s Road. It is a huge area of approximately 64,000 square meters (688,890 square feet) and more than 500 rides and activities.  There is something for everyone and every fear factor!
In addition to the traditional rides such as the carousel and Ferris Wheel, there are bumper cars and roller coasters (even one for small children) tombolas (bingo halls), camel races, water pistols and games of chance. There is even a circus which may or may not include clowns, trapeze artists, feats of great human strength and with any luck, no animals.

 

 

Now that you know your way around... let's learn the Sevillianas!