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Celebrations to look out for in October

October fiestas in Spain are cooler affairs than those taking place at the height of the summer months, and consequently more comfortable although there is always a risk of rain at this time of the year so pack an umbrella in the hire car. Mallorca In Sant Joan Festa de Virgen on 21st October honours the Virgin with a feast packed with merriment and great food. This is an opportunity to indulge in large amounts of the local sweet treats and cakes, wine and if you are in good voice try joining in a sing-along! Also in October in Mallorca is the Festa de Butifarro, best described as a sausage fest! Butifarro is the event that marks the winter pig slaughter. The sausages are a delicious delicacy made from Sobrassada, ground pork, Paprika, salt and other spices are added before the meat is roasted on a barbecue and served with quantities of local wine. Trophies are presented for the best sausages - great fun with lots of dancing and little stalls set up to sell crafts. Sant Joan is a 40-minute car hire drive from Palma on good roads – take Junction 32 on the MA-15 before joining the ‘Camino de Horta’ which goes directly to the town of Sant Joan in the Pla de Mallorca municipality. Alicante In Calpe, north of Alicante, a spectacular Moors & Christians parade on Avenida Gabriel Miro is hailed as one of the best. This year (2014) it is over five days from 17th – 22nd October with the main procession on the last day. By all means drive to the event but you would need to park well away from Gabriel Miro and walk - or take a cab to the centre of the action. Be prepared for a long night as the parade and supporting parties that go on all around the area tend to break up in time for breakfast! One of the major October fiestas in Calpe is the Calpe Oktoberfest (Beer Festival) to be held on 23rd October this year organised by the Club Creativo de Calpe. This is a massive celebration enjoyed by the German – and Spanish – communities and it gets bigger every year. Loads of fun to be had, huge amounts of top quality beer served by costumed waitresses and wonderful music to help the beer flow for some 10,000 customers! The mayor of Calpe opens the first barrel at around 8pm and the feasting goes on for an amazing ten days. Reserve tables by calling 0034 617 686 305 between 3pm and 5pm.
You can drive to Calpe from the A-7 and join the N-332 at Junction 63, an hour or so from the Drivalia car rental depot at Alicante. It is worth spending a week or two in the town during October to enjoy the Moors & Christians Parade and the Oktoberfest - there is plenty to see and do. However, book accommodation in advance at this time of year. Murcia Get there early to enjoy an outstanding parade of floats in true carnival fashion honouring the Virgen del Rosario in Murcia.
Virgel del Rosario Murcia
Image credit:By Gregorico (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons
The fun begins in late September, continuing right up to National Day on 12th October with street parties, talent competitions and food fests. There are carnival queens and street musicians galore in rich and colourful costumes - one of the locals’ favourite fiestas eagerly awaited as it denotes the end of a long, hot summer. Try the traditional ‘Migas’ – stale bread reduced to crumbs and fried in olive oil, garlic and peppers with bits of meat… Doesn’t sound great I know but actually it is very tasty and dear to Spanish hearts! Murcia City is on the N-340, a major city and a fantastic shopping area with plenty of great restaurants that offer superb international dishes as well as traditional cuisine – so when you’re not parade-hopping October fiestas try out the local attractions!