Ampuero 2014

September 10, 2014 By: erik Category: Bulls, Family, Offspring, Photos, Spain, Travel

Ampuero 2014This past weekend we went to the annual festival in Ampuero. The best way to describe it is that it’s a mini-San-Fermín, the enormous annual festival in Pamplona known worldwide for its encierro (running of the bulls). San Fermín is seven days long, and the festival in Ampuero is only three days, but they do have a running of the bulls and they do party for all 72 hours for those three days. There is also a well respected dress code of wearing all white with a red scarf and optional other red accessories. The Ampuero festival is perhaps slightly more kid-friendly than the one in Pamplona. It’s also not as overrun by foreign tourists, which might make it closer to the San Fermín that Hemingway fell in love with. It might make a good destination for some cheap holidays in Spain. We had a great time, going out until the wee hours on Friday and Saturday night, and then going to the bull run on Sunday.
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Sauga Folk Festival 2012

August 22, 2012 By: erik Category: Colindres, Ireland, Music, Spain, Videos

Sauga Folk 2012 - Virgen de Palacios - VotoLast weekend, I attended the 18th annual Sauga Folk festival, held each year in my town of Colindres. The festival focuses on local, Cantabrian music and dance, as well as celtic music in general. Each year we get some pretty famous (as the celtic music scene goes) acts from Ireland and sometimes Scotland traveling here to perform. Due to collisions with August summer vacations, this is only the second year that I have been able to attend.
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San Juan Festivities in Colindres

June 26, 2012 By: erik Category: Colindres, Complaining, Partying, Photos, Politics, Spain, Travel, Videos

San Juan SausagefestThe town where I live is celebrating its annual San Juan festival this week. Most Spanish towns have a town saint, and for many of them, that role is filled by Saint John The Baptist. There are several things that I love about this festival. It amuses me that it’s really just a thinly veiled version of the pagan bonfire solstice festivals held across Europe (the bonfire is to shoo away the witches, in case you didn’t know).

Riffing off the Valencian falles tradition of building elaborate, yet explosive, parade floats to burn, the townspeople of Colindres also make little miniature floats, usually the size of small cars, which are wheeled, by hand, around town before finding their way to the designated place to be judged, doused in gasoline, and ignited.
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Batalla de Flores 2011 – Laredo, Spain

August 28, 2011 By: erik Category: Partying, Spain, Travel, Videos

Batalla de FloresOn the last Friday of August every year, the nearby tourist town of Laredo hosts their annual Batalla de Flores (Flower Battle). It consists of a parade of floats, decorated entirely with real flowers. The floats range from fairly simple – but more complex than I could construct – numbers with a cartoon character or two, to huge elaborate contraptions with various animals or other themes. Each float is decorated with some sort of Homo sapiens specimens deemed to be cute, usually small children or young maidens in elaborate costumes. The floats are judged on a variety of categories:

  • Presentation: relative to the size of the float, the combination of diverse pieces and parts, and complexity of the float
  • Art: the general beauty, composition, design, originality and “wow factor”
  • Flowers: how well the flowers are nailed to the float, and the general quality of the floral craftsmanship
  • Quantity of flowers: the percentage of the float covered in flowers

There is also a separate prize for the best dressed human ornaments. During the video you’re about to see, the announcer mentions that this year, there were floats that had more than 100,000 flowers on them. Wow!
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Colindres Beer Festival 2011

August 01, 2011 By: erik Category: Colindres, Partying, Photos, Spain

Beer MaidThis past weekend my town, Colindres, celebrated its Second Annual Beer Festival. We went only one day last year, but this year we went all four days. I had a total of 3.5 liters of beer in seven half-liter (±1 pint) mugs. They also had liter steins, but I couldn’t bring myself to buy one. Plus, I subscribe to the “smaller servings is better” beer philosophy of my adopted country.
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First Annual Colindres Beer Festival

June 20, 2010 By: erik Category: Colindres, Partying, Photos, Spain

Oktoberfest Backdrop (crop)For a week now I’ve been seeing signs around town advertising the “I Festival de Cerveza de Colindres“, but none of the signs said exactly what or where it was, just the dates, June 17 – 20 and the bars that were sponsoring the event. I sort of assumed that it was going to be some discount on beers in those bars or something, but yesterday we ran into a friend that informed us that it was a big festival with bands in a tent near the town hall. Unfortunately, it has been cold and rainy all week, but today, on the last day of the festival, we went to check it out. This is what we found…
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Santo Tomás

December 26, 2007 By: erik Category: Mondragon, Partying, Photos, Spain, Videos

Basque ChapThe main feast day for Saint Thomas in the Catholic church falls suspiciously close to the winter solstice, and is celebrated on December 21 with a huge fair in San Sebastian, Spain. In Mondragón, my wife’s home town, Santo Tomás is also an important day. But since San Sebastian is so close and so much bigger, no one ever came to the fair in Mondragón, so they moved it to December 22 and the event exploded into a huge annual fair of crafts and livestock and dancing and drinking and general merriment.
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