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Sevilla's Feria de Abril lights up: Andalucía's biggest and most globally-renowned festival now open
SEVILLA'S world-famous April Fair, or Feria de Abril is now officially open and the southern city will be a giant round-the-clock festival ground for the next 10 days.
Everything stereotypical about Spain springs unapologetically to life as loudly and colourfully as it can – flamenco singers and dancers, swirling polka-dot skirts, gypsy guitars and dashing donjuanes on beautiful grey Pura Raza Española (Spanish thoroughbred) horses – and, in fact, is probably the only time and place any tourist can catch these all at once.
Carriages bedecked with flowers and flamboyantly-dressed women dancing the fast-paced sevillanas are on every street corner, and 1,052 brightly-coloured huts line the city-centre streets selling traditional southern-Spanish food and souvenirs.
Last night (Saturday) marked the start of the long fiesta with the great 'switch-on' – over 200,000 bulbs lit up the city to declare the fair open.
The act of turning on the lights for the Feria de Abril is a matter of great prestige, and this year, 10 pensioners were picked to do so – five men and five women.
For Josefa, 92, it was a dream come true and worth waiting a lifetime for.
“I've wanted to do something like this my whole life, because I've seen the lights many, many times, but I never really thought I'd ever be the one to switch them on,” she said enthusiastically minutes before her big moment.
Also last night, a tribute to the longest-running sevillanas band, Los Romeros de la Puebla – who have been singing traditional songs from Andalucía at its major fiestas for over 50 years – took place, with artists famous in the Sevilla area including Brumas, Las Carlotas, Los del Guadalquivir, Somos del Sur, María de la Colina and Cantores de Híspalis giving voice to the first sevillanas of the fair, accompanied by the four remaining members of the Royal Sevilla Symphonic Orchestra.
Los Romeros del Pueblo, made up of José Manuel Moya, Juan Díaz, José Angulo and Manuel Cabello – the latter's brother and co-founder Faustino passed away in September 2015 – has been composing its own original and highly-traditional songs for half a century, although it has not released an album since Cantamos decimos adiós in 2011.
They made it into the Guinness Book of Records this year for being the only band in the world to have kept all its original members since it was founded back in 1968.
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