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Europe’s Festivals: April Fair in Sevilla

Sevilla, Spain

Two weeks after Easter, Sevilla hosts its gigantic April Fair, filling the fairgrounds with private party tents. Women wear colorful, ruffled dresses, and everyone has on their party best, even the horses. A local friend invites us into a tent — it’s like a wedding party.

Complete Video Script

As if to continue this celebration of the return of spring, some places let loose in vibrant secular festivals. One of the most exuberant and colorful is in Spain: Sevilla’s gigantic Spring [April] Fair.

Throughout southern Spain, a region so expert at fiestas and romance, cities like Sevilla greet each spring with a festival for all ages. A festival where the horses are nearly as dressed up as the people a springtime flirtatiousness fills the air — and travelers are more than welcome to join in the fun.

For seven days each April it seems much of Sevilla is packed into its vast fairgrounds. The fair feels friendly, spontaneous…very real. The Andalusian passion for horses, flamenco…and sherry…is clear. Riders are ramrod straight, colorfully clad señoritas ride sidesaddle, and everyone’s drinking sherry spritzers. Women sport outlandish dresses that would look clownish all alone, but somehow brilliant here en masse.

Hundreds of private party tents (or “casetas”) line the lanes. Each striped tent is the party zone of a particular family, club, or association. To get in, you need to know someone in the group — or make friends quickly.

My local friend, Concepción, is well connected.

Woman: My caseta.

….and as a friend of a friend, we’re in.

Rick: This is your caseta?
Woman: Esta la caseta.

Because of the exclusivity, it has a real family-affair feeling. Throughout Andalucía, at spring fairs like Sevilla’s, it seems everyone knows everyone in what seems like a thousand wedding parties being celebrated all at the same time.