Feria de Jerez (Jerez Horse Fair)

Feria de Jerez (Jerez Horse Fair)
Photo: flickr.com
The Feria de Jerez (Jerez Fair), also known as the Feria del Caballo (Horse Fair), is an annual celebration that takes place in Jerez de la Frontiera, Cádiz, Andalusia, Spain. One of the most famous fairs in Spain and the most important fair in the province of Cádiz, it is held over a week in May, usually following the Spanish motorcycle Gran Prix that also takes place in Jerez.

The Feria de Jerez is believed to have been established in the 13th century, shortly after the Christian forces led by Álvaro Pérez de Castro defeated the Moors led by Ibn Hood in the vicinity of Jerez. Farmers gathered in one place to sell and buy animals and drank locally produced sherry to celebrate successful deals. The fair began to focus on horses sometimes around the 15th century, when Cartusian monks began to breed powerful, weight-bearing Andalusian horses in nearby monasteries.

Today’s Feria de Jerez is one of the most significant events in Andalusia and a major tourist attraction. It is held every May in González Hontoria Park. The fair takes place a week after the Seville Fair and before the Romería de El Rocío (a pilgrimage on the second day of the Pentecost).

The Jerez Horse Fair is divided into two large areas. One area reminds of a village whose streets are lined with bars and restaurants. These bars and restaurants are called casetas. Casetas are individual decorated booths or marquee tents which are temporarily built on the fairground. At the Feria de Jerez, all casetas are open to the public, so that anyone can walk into one of them and enjoy the food, drinks, and dancing. This is one of the distinctive features of the Jerez Fair: at most other Andalusian fairs, most of the casetas are private and open exclusively to card-holding members. Casetas typically serve sherry, rebujito (a cocktail consisting of sherry and some kind of soft drink) and tapas (snacks and appetizers).

The second area of the fair is a theme park/carnival style area with amusement rides for visitors of all ages. Some of the other entertainment at the fair includes a horse parade, bullfights, horseback riding, contests and competitions, and more.

Feria de Caballo

Photo: Dominic Alves, flickr.com




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