From August 15 to 24 Malaga celebrates its traditional Fair, with the particularity that it is one of the few cities in Spain with two fairs at the same time to choose from: the streets of the Historic Center and the Real de la Feria in the Cortijo de Torres.
On August 19, 1487 the Catholic Monarchs, Isabel and Fernando, entered with their courtship through the Granada Gate of Malaga, to take symbolic possession of the Muslim city and incorporate it into the Crown of Castile, after a siege of more than three months.
It was a few years before one of his navigators, Christopher Columbus, landed in America and discovered a whole world for Europeans.
To celebrate the fourth centenary of the entry of the Catholic Monarchs, in 1887 a group of notables of the city shaped the August Fair that is still today celebrated in the capital of the Costa del Sol very year with great public success, with many national and foreign visitors.
The striking thing about the Feria de Agosto de Málaga is that, for more than three decades, it has offered two fairs in one, because it is celebrated both in the streets of the Historic Center and in the fairground of Cortijo de Torres, in the western area of the city.
In addition, during these days there are live performances, flamenco, street entertainment groups, equestrian shows and bullfights in the newly restored bullring of La Malagueta, which has just regained its original 1876 appearance.
Proclamation and Fireworks
The August Fair begins in a traditional way with a proclamation pronounced by a personality of Malaga on the balcony of the City Hall, ten minutes before midnight, because at 12 o’clock the Fair opens in the skies with a beautiful fireworks show on the beach of La Malagueta, followed by a musical performance.
Pilgrimage with horsemen and flamenco costumes
The official start, however, is a beautiful pilgrimage with horsemen and horse cars from the Paseo del Parque to the Sanctuary of the Virgen de la Victoria, the patron saint of Malaga.
An opportunity to enjoy this colorful parade and then enjoy the Fair through the streets of the Center.
The Fair of the Centro: music, dance and tapas
The environment of the Plaza de la Constitución and Larios Street, which sports at the entrance a huge artistic cover that symbolizes the Fair, but also the continuation by Granada Street, Alcazabilla Street and other city squares such as those of La Merced, of the Bishop, of Mitjana or of San Pedro Alcántara begin to cheer up from one in the afternoon with street musical groups and the participation of the Malaga people themselves, some of whom cheer with their sevillanas and malagueñas dances, two of the most popular in the Fair.
Although many of the streets have awnings to protect from the sun, hats and fans can be provided in many street stalls and if you dare, also reeds to mark the rhythm of the dance.
It is an occasion to enjoy the Historic Center in another way, with singing, dancing and, of course, with all the bars and restaurants open but also hundreds of street stalls where you can eat ‘without losing the beat’. Many of these street stalls offer traditional versions of classic tapas: dishes of ham, cheese, Spanish tortilla, salmorejo, croquettes, paella, cabbage …
The music on the streets ends at 6 pm, a polite way to announce the farewell of the Centro until the next day.
The drink of the Fair
You can not leave the August Fair without trying at least one glass of Cartojal, the traditional drink of the Malaga Fair, to the point that a very important part of its annual production is dispatched in these few days of August, such is its popularity.
Cartojal, from the the veteran winery Málaga Virgen, created in 1885, is a white wine that is served very cold (recommended at 6-8 degrees) . It is made with muscat wine from the eastern part of Malaga: the Axarquía.
The bottles , with a recognizable fuchsia pink label and white polka dots on the top, are present in every corner of the Fair. Of course, the Cartojal must be consumed in moderation as it’s ABV is 15 degrees.
El Real de la Feria
From noon to dawn, the other great space of the Malaga Fair is the Real de la Feria, which is located in the Cortijo de Torres, in the west of the city. To reach the Real, the Malaga bus service (EMT) offers several special lines, some of them with 24-hour service.In addition, the Cercanías Victoria Kent train station is about 800 meters from Cortijo de Torres.
In the great fairgrounds of Malaga, with areas with dispensers for you to enjoy a microclimate of freshness during the day, you can enjoy the horse hitch ride from 12 pm to 8 pm in the afternoon, which has an official itinerary throughout the whole enclosure.
In addition, unlike in other Andalusia fairs, in Malaga you can enter a lot of the booths of the Fair without an invitation, many of them clubs and associations of the city, where you can enjoy singing, dancing and also a good meal.
You can also visit the Equestrian Exhibition Center in the afternoon if you want to check out the art of the Andalusian horses, and at night you have at your disposal the municipal flamenco booth and the couplet to listen to the most important artists, the verdiales booth, an artistic expression born in the Montes de Málaga that according to some experts has its roots in the Muslim era.
Also at night there is usually flamenco and traditional dances in the municipal auditorium. The Fair, by the way, also has an esplanade of youth if you’re looking for other rhythms.
To the Bulls
The bullring of La Malagueta, one of the most beautiful in Spain, has just been restored to look ready for the 2019 Fair, which will bring together some of the best bullfighters in Spain.
You can visit on any afternoon, although you will have to wait a while for the top bullfights.
A Fair also for Children
In addition to the classic attractions that you can find in the Real de la Feria, there is a part of the Feria del Centro dedicated to children.
Specifically, during the mornings, Alcazabilla Street , where the Roman Theater and its interpretation center is located, hosts a fair for children with games, workshops, plays, magic shows and puppets, so that no one is left without enjoying this special week
The farewell: the Historic Cavalcade
If you still have energy left, on the afternoon of the last day, the Fair concludes with a historic ride that recreates the entrance of the Catholic Monarchs to Malaga on August 19, 1487.
Horses, Renaissance clothing, Christian and Muslim soldiers parade through the streets of the Center to close with this five-century trip, one of the most complete fairs in Spain.