Velá de Triana

The Velá de Triana, or Velá de Santiago y Santa Ana to give it its full and correct title, is a traditional market fair that dates back to the 13th century, and is Triana’s largest annual street party. It’s held in late July, (this year July 20-July 26) and draws large crowds from all over the city.

There’s a stage for concerts in the Plaza del Altozano, local associations and hermandades set up booths and stalls along Calle Betis, and there is a small funfair for children towards the San Telmo Bridge, There are lots of activities during the week, including concerts, rowing and fishing competitions, an exhibition of old photographs in the Castillo San Jorge, and the Cucaña (which I finally saw for the first time this year), where the contestants (mostly young men, but some women, too) get a chance to show off by snatching a flag from the end of a greasy pole projecting over the river.

It’s a great way to spend a summer evening or two, strolling beside the booths, drinking beer or a sherry, and sampling the pescaito frito (fried fish) and green hazelnuts. The alumbrado, the switching on of the lights on Triana Bridge, took place at midnight on the Friday, and this year the festival ends with a flamenco performance in the Plaza del Altozano at 10.30 on Thursday evening. Maybe see you there?