London, April 2010
Feverish preparations are currently ongoing in the Andalusian capital of Seville for the annual April Fair. The fair which is expected to be held in Seville from the 20th April to 25th April this year is considered as one of the most important weeks in the Sevillan calendar. Last year, the city recorded over a million tourist visitors in the month of April, with many preferring to travel to Andalusia for the ‘Feria de Abril’, as it is locally called.
Like every year, the traditional ‘alumbrao’ (lighting) will kick off the week long festivities. “At the strike of midnight on the 20th April, which falls on a Tuesday, the lights at the gates of the fairgrounds will be symbolically turned on to denote the commencement of the festival”, confirmed one of the main organisers of the Feria de Abril.
The organisers also guarantee that locally famous matadors, flamenco artists and Sevillanas singers will make the fair this year particularly memorable. The tickets for bullfights, which are held in the Sevilla fairgrounds known as the Plaza de Toros Maestranza de Caballeria, have been sold out well in advance, with very few last minute seats still said to be up for grabs.
“The April Fair is traditionally held two weeks after Easter Sunday, and gives tourists a taste of Spanish hospitality at its best. We are normally booked months in advance, there is hardly a single room available during this time. And many of our customers are those who return to enjoy the lovely weather in Seville, and soak up the sun and the festivities”, says Pablo Casteillos, a Sevillan hotelier.
The Spanish tourism department claims that for the week long celebrations, permissions have been granted for more than a thousand ‘casetas’, or tents, to be put up in the fairgrounds. The casetas, they say, will then become like a second home for the inhabitants of Seville – a place where people come together to have fun and share experiences until the small hours of the morning.
Many tourists say that they have been left enchanted by their first taste of Spain experienced at the April Fair. The local hoteliers claim some tourists even choose to stay longer in order to study Spanish abroad. With quality Spanish education now being offered by a rapidly expanding education industry, checking out Spanish study abroad options in cities like Seville has also become a part of many tourists’ itineraries.
A high volume of traffic is expected to flow to and from Seville during the week of the April Fair. City authorities claim that adequate police forces have been deployed and are in place, and many local volunteers have been already commissioned into action to act as guides for the million or so tourists who are expected to flock to Seville for the fair this year.