The Malaga Fair 2023 Starts Again

by Lorraine Williamson
Malaga Fair

MALAGA – Sweltering temperatures, relentless Sevillana sounds, freely flowing sweet Málaga wine, dazzling flamenco outfits, and the rhythmic tapping of flamenco dancers’ heels. Immerse yourself in festive atmosphere during the Malaga Fair. 

With these eight-day city festivities, Malaga commemorates the capture of the city by the Catholic Monarchs in 1487. This ‘Feria de Agosto’ is one of the most popular festivals in the Andalucia region. Every year, the Malaga Fair attracts numerous visitors from near and far. Not only do the locals look forward to it for months, but visitors from other parts of Spain and even from abroad also visit it. This year, the festivities will take place from the opening on Friday evening, August 11, to Sunday, August 19. 

Origin of the festivities 

After the Catholic Monarchs recaptured the city from the Moors on August 19, 1487, Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Aragon donated the statue of the Virgen de la Victoria (the Virgin of Victory) to the city. Moreover, this statue is still carried through the main streets of Malaga every year on September 8. 

Because of this celebration, the Feria de Málaga must always coincide with the date of August 19. Although the feast of the Assumption of Mary on August 15 is often used for additional holidays in the city. 

Two ferias 

In reality, there are two Ferias celebrated, one during the day in the city centre and one in the evening and night at the fairground outside the city at the Cortijo de Torres exhibition centre, near the Palacio de Congresos. This area most of the year forms a vast open space combined with ‘streets’ where stone party tents are located, the ‘casetas’. 

Feria del Día 

Traditionally, the fairground was intended for the night-time Feria, but in recent years the party has spread throughout the day, attracting thousands of visitors of all ages who try to escape the increasingly noisy festivities and seek refuge in the historic city centre. 

Cogesa Expats

The festival at the fairground has grown in popularity over the past decade. However, the Feria in the centre remains one of the main attractions. Thousands of people from around the world choose to travel to Málaga to enjoy the – according to many – unique atmosphere. The city is festively decorated, restaurants sell their wares in specially arranged stalls outside their doors, and various stages feature performances by different artists. 

The fairground on the outskirts of the city has numerous festive, decorated casetas. These are places where people gather to enjoy food, drink, and music. These party spaces are managed by associations, clubs, groups of friends, or businesses. Moreover, they are meeting places where flamenco is danced, Sevillanas (a typical dance style of Andalucia) is enjoyed, or the most popular current music is played, and traditional dishes are served. There’s also a large fairground where both young and old can have fun. 

Opening ceremony 

As usual, the festivities will be inaugurated on Friday, August 11, at midnight, with fireworks on La Malagueta beach. The city council also indicates that there will be a “light show.” It appears that last year’s premiere show with a hundred drones will be repeated this year, projecting traditional images of the city and the fair. This year the captain of the Unicaja basketball team in Malaga will conduct the opening speech. 

Feria during the day 

At the Feria del Día in the centre, the following places are essential: 

  • Plaza de las Flores, often hosts concerts 
  • Calle Alcazabilla 
  • Calle Marques de Larios: with a beautiful entrance gate opposite the port entrance, festively lit at night with tens of thousands of lights. Numerous activities take place here. 
  • Plaza del Obispo 
  • Plaza de Toros de La Malagueta (with horse and carriage parades) 

Feria at Night 

The El Real de Torres grounds transform into an authentic fairground for eight days throughout the night (although the fair is open in the afternoon). There are concerts in the auditorium, and outside you can enjoy the usual fair attractions and an incredible 200 stands. 

Indispensable things to do 

  • Drink Cartojal, a famous sweet wine that is drunk very cold, and the “rebujito” (a mixture of manzanilla wine and lime) 
  • Dance on the street during the concerts at the Plaza de la Constitución 
  • Attend a group of ‘verdiales’ on Calle Larios. An ancient fandango that is still very much alive in the province of Málaga 
  • Take a tapas tour and go wherever the party takes you

Related: Fiestas, Ferias, and Celebrations in Spain during 2023 

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