This past weekend, I was lucky enough to be in Trevelez, Spain during their Feria del Genado, which is their yearly festival for their livestock…or something like that. And who can blame them – tell me one time you’ve been around a drunk goat and not had a good time?
Trevelez is a small town, with less than 1,000 residents, so when I found out that they were having their town fair, I didn’t expect too much. I mean how big can a fair be if there are only a few hundred people there to attend it?
On Tuesday, gypsies arrived in town and began setting up for the fair. I was impressed – 3 full days of set up for the fair was about 3 times more than what I expected. Every time I accompanied the family who I am helping here st el Balcon del Cielo into town during the week, it seemed like people were talking about the fair. Brochures had been printed and distributed and there was even a light marking the occasion strung across the main street in the town.
Naturally, I began to raise my expectations for the festival, as it seemed that small town Spain takes their fairs pretty seriously.
On Friday night, I ventured into Town with Axel, Katie, and their daughter to check out the fair. There was to be an official town-lighting at 8 pm(which is exactly what it sounds like – everyone in town turns their lights on at the same time), which was about the time that we arrived in town. The town was about halfway lit up.
As we strolled down the main street in town, there was virtually no one out. Vendors were still erecting the tents that would serve as their booths, a stage for a DJ was still being assembled, and the only thing that seemed ready were kids rides – which consisted of a bouncy house and two types of merry-go-rounds (each of which had their own sound systems that you could hear all throughout the town, each blaring different pop songs).
Axel informed me that the party wouldn’t start until the DJ started playing – which was scheduled at 11:30 pm, but would probably be closer to 1 am. As I am not exactly a dancing Sasquatch (aside from the occasional wedding reception where I am drunk enough to perform an interpretive dance to Mr. Roboto. And yes, this includes my own wedding), I was happy to go along with a plan of getting dinner & drinks, then heading home well before the DJ went on – agreeing that the activities for the following afternoon sounded more interesting.
Those activities were listed in the brochure as “Feria de Dia con Desfile de Corioras y Batucada,” which I was told had something to do with horse carriages and some kind of drumming.
Everything was scheduled to begin at 11:00 am, but, in what I have come to take is southern-Spain fashion, no one expected it to start on time. We arrived in town around 12:30 and – again – gypsies were busy erecting their tents/booths and the ground was covered in broken glass, the remnants of the post-midnight party. We spent an hour or so people watching, with nothing happening other than the occasional teenager riding by on horseback. The drummers were there, but we only saw them drinking beers, waiting along with everyone else for the horses to show up. We decided lunch and our own drinks were in order.
Over an hour later, we walked back down the main street and…..still nothing. Well, not nothing, I saw two things: a well-dressed horse & horse rider enjoying a beer under an umbrella and a flat-bed truck had arrived that had people standing on the bed drinking beers and enjoying music from the generator-powered sound system that had been strapped to the truck.
I thought the excitement was about to begin, and to my astonishment, something did happen: the drummers lined up and started playing!
As the drummers began to play, the truck began driving the drunkards up a hill and the drummers followed. They wound their way up the hill and around a corner and fell out of earshot.
That was it.
No horses, no carriages, only people sitting and standing around enjoying their beers and wine. Oh, and about 2 minutes of drumming. That’s when it hit me: no one really cares about what happens with the fair – it’s just a good excuse to starting drinking in the early afternoon.
So, what did I do? I grabbed a drink – when in Rome and all that good stuff. So I spent some time enjoying the sunshine and people watching.
Oh, how I love small town fairs. Cheers!