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Feria de Jerez – flamenco and flounces

May 9, 2013 – 11:41 pm

A technicolour group of ladies at the Feria de Jerez.

The way to enter the Feria in style - by horse and carriage.

One of Andalucia’s best-known Ferias, after the Seville Feria de Abril, is the Feria del Caballo in Jerez.

This feria is famed for its magnificent jerezano horses, and its sherry, Jerez being the centre of production of this fortified wine, which is currently enjoyed a resurgence in popularity – in a word, it’s trendy: fino, manzanilla, Pedro Ximenez, palo cortado, oloroso… Rebujito, the feria concoction of manzanilla and lemonade, is now a popular drink in the UK.

It is quite different from the Seville Feria, which is my “home” one, with its private casetas, cramped fairground, narrow pavements, and danger of being trampled by horses. Here, anyone can go into any caseta, and there’s plenty of space for strolling around.

These green roundabouts, with the piles of sherry barrels, break up the long avenues.

Flamenco performers at the Tio Pepe caseta, which is a permanent pavilion with huge billowing curtains.

But the women are the same as anywhere – brightly coloured dresses, matching flowers in their hair, mantones (shawls), and much singing and dancing in the street. Perhaps less pretence here, more spontaneity. Many more girls weren’t wearing flamenca dresses than at Seville, where the great majority love to flounce in their frills.

The lattice metalwork of the street decorations at the Feria del Caballo in Jerez is astonishing.

The Feria del Caballo in Jerez de la Frontera lasts till 12 May (this Sunday).

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