Tenerife – Alcala Fiesta – Alcala Firework Display
August 16, 2009 Leave a comment
Tenerife Tourism – The Alcala Fiesta and Firework display, 2009
Alcala is a quaint coastal village on the south west coast of Tenerife, a small fishermans harbour and hillside settlement with narrow streets and alleys. It is a traditionally Canarian village but it also has a splash of mixed culture like so many places in Tenerife. Tucked away in the streets there are many Cafe’s and Bars offering a variety of food fayre from local Tapas and seafood to European to South American cuisine. The village even has a Club for Columbian residents which will give you an idea of the cultural diversity of this small village. Many people do not realise that Tenerife has a very strong South American Culture, which is due to inter-colonial migration between the many Spanish territories.
Once a year, Alcala hosts an annual Fiesta for one week during August, the peak summer holiday season. Between spring and autumn it is possible to attend a Fiesta almost every day at various venues around Tenerife, many Fiesta Junkies actually do that, especially the local ones at weekends. However, without doubt the locals regard the Alcala Fiesta as one of the best, probably because of it’s vibrant culture and the magnificent firework display which is held on the Saturday night.
The awesome Alcala firework display is an emotional experience for most, especially the first time. A colourful statue of La Virgen de Candelaria has already been ceremoniously paraded around the village prior to being taken out to sea for a fishermens blessing before being taken back to the church. She is then paraded out again to preside over the firework display which starts around midnight. The crowds applaud her presence as she arrives majestically to take her position on the floodlit promenade.
The lights suddenly go down and the spectacular panoramic firework display erupts before you like an artillery battle. The incendiaries are launched from three separate locations, two either side of the harbour and one, an island in the middle of the harbour. The twenty minute display is colourful, deafening and almost shocking with exploding fireworks seemingly launched not only skyward but also across the harbour and even into the sea from where they explode like naval depth charges releasing even more clusters of fireworks. This firework display is especially impressive and surely one of the best you could ever see. Such is the popularity of this firework display that locals and tourist alike descend on this small village from miles around, there is even a large fleet of visiting yachts moored just outside the harbour to witness this exciting annual spectacle.
After the firework display, the village vibrates with the sound of music as the Fiesta swings through the night until the early hours. The main square is set up with food stalls and bars, if you were not hungry you will need to be disciplined not to sample the delightful appetisers which are available. Whether you want to enjoy a meal, take a seat, have a drink and people watch, or kick off your shoes and dance the Merengue or Salsa, there is something for everyone at the Alcala Fiesta. Even the children stay out late to enjoy the fairground stalls and rides.
A Canarian get together such as the Alcala Fiesta is an embracing event for everyone who attends, the locals will be counting the days until the next one and if you have been a visitor you will undoubtedly be touched by the diversity of the occasion. You may even wonder why something so good could be free to attend, the answer is it is sponsored by local government but nowadays there is also organised fund raising which has enabled this Fiesta to develop into the major event it is today.
If you want to attend on the Saturday night, ideally you should use public transport because available parking is all but taken up by mid afternoon. By darkness, all roads in and out of the village are chocker for miles and you should not venture home until a couple of hours after the firework display because the village becomes gridlocked. Despite this, it is well worth making the effort to enjoy an experience you will probably never forget. If you park in the neighbouring village of Playa San Juan it is only a short bus or taxi ride to Alcala.