The 2019 April Fair will take place in Seville from May 4th to May 11th.Discover the traditions and what you can’t miss if you’re in Seville in May.
One of the most famous fairs in Spain is taking place from Saturday, May 4th to Saturday, May 11th, 2019.
2019 will be a peculiar year for the Feria in Seville, as it will be obliged to change its denomination. In fact, the “May” Fair will be from Saturday, May 4th to Saturday, May 11th. During the last hours of the night of “pescaito” thousands of people (among whom you must be!) will be waiting for midnight to strike. In fact, it is then when the lights will be turned on, to illuminate the main door and the streets of the fairground. This show will mark the official start of the April Fair.
Origins of the April Fair
Just like the vast majority of fairs in Andalucia, the April Fair is the evolution of the old cattle markets. These used to take place in almost every city in southern Spain, and Seville wasn’t lagging behind.
The first fair as we know it nowadays saw the light in April 1847, when the Town Hall approved its celebration as a cattle fair in Prado de San Sebastián. The affluence was so high, that security forces had to be implemented. The first stalls were open almost ten years after the inauguration, to provide some refreshment to those who came to Seville to sell their cattle.
Around the mid-20th century, the fair converted into simple celebration, forgetting the selling option that had been its main characteristic until then.
It was only in 1973 when locals started celebrating the April Fair in the neighbourhood of Los Remedios, where it is nowadays. This move allowed the number of stalls to rise to more than 1000 during the last decades.
It is also worth knowing that people used to celebrate the Fair on a three-day period. In more recent times, the Town Hall established that it has to start two Sundays after Easter.
The Real, the centre of the April Fair
The name “El Real” refers to the 275,000 square-metre-wide field where the April Fair takes place, in the Los Remedios neighbourhood. Its name comes from the coin “real”, which was worth ¼ of a peseta. This amount of money was the price the drivers used to ask for to bring people to the Fair.
Picturesque lanterns that illuminate the nights of the Fair populate the streets of the Real. You must go for a walk along them, and you will meet thousands of stalls to provide you with a happy atmosphere.
At present, the April Fair relies on roughly 1040 stalls, decorated by red-and-white (or green-and-white) striped tarps and provided with tablaos. Here it is where Flamenco dancers can show off their abilities dancing the charming Sevillanas.
Be careful! The majority belongs to private associations and families, and you have to be invited to enjoy them from the inside. Security presides them, and only those who are part of that very organisation are allowed in, or their guests. They usually pay an annual amount to be part of the association, which guarantees them the right to enter the stall when the Fair starts.
However, you can always take a tour around those that belong to free associations and are open to the public. Only make sure to be there as soon as possible, since these are the stalls that get filled the fastest.
This characteristic has led to people starting defining the April Fair as “the Fair of Sevillans”. Whether you agree or not, the April Fair is an experience you can’t miss out on to get to know the real identity of Andalucia’s capital city.
Close to the Real, you will find the famous “Calle del Infierno” (literally, the “Street of Hell”), and that says it all! Here, children (and adults, too!) will have the possibility to engage in endless fun activities, jump on carousels and have the time of their lives.
La Portada: the entrance to the Fair
The Portada (literally, “the façade”) is the door of the April Fair. It changes every year, and it symbolises one monument of the city or a special meaning anniversary. Make sure to visit it both by day and at night, since the impression it gives you is completely different. In fact, you will be amazed by the thousands of lights that illuminate it when the sun sets.
In 2018, the Portada of the Fair commemorates the 150th-anniversary of Circulo Mercantil, one of the oldest “casetas” of the Feria.
The picturesque Paseo de Caballos
This grand parade is a true must-see during the April Fair when spectacular horses draw carriages that are more like masterpieces than a way of transport. It takes place along the streets of the Real during the whole Fair, being the main exhibition in the Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza on Saturday, May 11th at 12 o’clock.
Dress as a Sevillan
The traje de Flamenca is a very special robe, typical of farmers, which has been considered the best outfit to visit the April Fair since 1929 (when the Ibero-American Exposition took place). It is composed of a dress ending in a series of frills, a shawl on the shoulders and, as an updo, a low bun adorned with a flower. The shoes usually have a small heel, to allow dances.
This outfit is known worldwide, and everyone always relates to it in connection with the Andalusian fairs. You can buy or rent one, to show your ability to rule an authentic Sevillan attire.
How to get to the April Fair
You can easily reach the Real by bus, by subway or by car.
The bus lines that connect the city of Seville with the Fair are:
- The special Fair line, connecting the Prado de San Sebastián with the Real. It costs €1,60
- Circular C-1
- Circular C-2
- Radial 41
- Transversal 05
- Transversal 06, with no night service
The closest subway stops are Plaza de Cuba, Parque de Los Principes and Blas Infante. The tube is working uninterruptedly during the whole week of Fair.
If you’re reaching the Real by car, you can leave your car in the following parking areas:
- Aparcamiento P-6
- Aparcamiento Charco de la Pava P-13, the biggest one, with more than 10.000 places.
Places to stay in Seville
Looking for a place to stay while packing your things may be a difficult task. Therefore, you should take an eye on the best holiday homes and villas in the province of Seville. You can enjoy the April Fair without having to think about the accommodation; it will be ready to welcome you!
The April Fair is known as the Fair of Sevillans. Are you ready to be one of them for one week?
What do you think about the April Fair? Have you ever been to Seville during this spectacular celebration? Tell us in the comments!