Tarifa Feria is where the magic happens…

Tarifa Feria

Tarifa Feria

By Richard Bradley

Let’s not talk about the wind. Nor the windsurfing or kitesurfing. Everyone knows that Tarifa is windy and this levante summer is certainly proving this to be true.   What often gets over looked behind the extreme sports hype is what makes Tarifa truly magical. It’s people. It’s location. It’s light. There is no better time to grasp the real Tarifa than at the Tarifa Feria.


The ferias and fiestas of Spain are all famous for their various specialities. Bulls in Pamplona, Tomatina in Valencia, the sheer finery of the Sevilla Feria and Semana Santa and so on and so on. The list and range of Spanish celebrations are long. Choosing when and how to celebrate is half the fun.


Tarifa, perched at the very bottom of Europe betwixt two continents, bathed in refracted light from the Med and the Atlantic and peopled by a mix of farmers, fishermen and foreigners has a unique and authentic Feria that does not disappoint.


With the summer mayhem of July and August behind them, Tarifenans choose to kick back and celebrate their traditions and history beginning on the first Sunday of September. Mixtures of religious, pastoral and familial events are spread across the week with no shortage of all night revelry, dancing and merriment filling the big sky.


The highlight of the week has to be the procession of Tarifa’s patron saint, The Virgin of Light, from El Santuario some 8kms up in the campo down into the old town. The procession of the deity is followed by up to 1000 horsemen and women of the campo mounted and dressed in their finest Andalusian garb along with hundreds of walkers. Surely one of Spain’s best-kept secrets.


What makes the Tarifa Feria unique is the mix of local and international Tarifenos. For more than 30 years Tarifa has attracted a raw breed of wild-hearted people drawn by its wind, ocean and mountains. And they haven’t just come for the weekend. They’ve come and put down roots and integrated into the Tarifa way of life. They’ve started families and have grown children up as Tarifenos. They’ve established businesses and become part of the community. And nowhere is the wonderful mix more evident than during the Tarifa Feria.


Weather your dancing the night away in the casetas, holding onto your stomach at the fairground, enjoying an afternoon bullfight, drinking your health in the tapas bars or paying your respects in the churches and deities there’s a little something of everything for everyone in the Tarifa Feria. The atmosphere is warm and friendly with a touch of magic. The fusion of deep light, three oceans, many winds and their changing natures are manifest in the people who make the party. Tarifa Feria is where the magic happens.



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