The 195th running of the Festa Major de Gràcia starts today (Mon 15th Aug 2011) and runs all week until Sun 21st August.
This Gràcia festival was my first experience of any of the barrio festivals when I arrived in Barcelona just over a year ago. I went to the Poble Sec festival just recently and I have to say, even with their Correfoc, it isn’t a patch on the Gràcia experience. In terms of size, entertainment and all round effort, nothing beats Gràcia.
The streets and balconies are beautifully decorated. Each of the 15 or so streets that are decorated has it’s own theme and often has an incredible entrance piece to the street. Stalls selling all number of things line the pavements. All the streets compete to be awarded the prize for the best decorated of the year. I walked around in the day marvelling at the amount of work that had gone into these decorations. The ideas and the use of every day items is incredible. Be sure to check out c/ Verdi, c/ Puigmartí and c/ Joan Blanques. All are sure to be stunning.
Festa Major de Gràcia at night
As busy as it is in the day the night is when things really get going. Live music on every corner and of course, as is the case for most Catalan festivals, they have the traditional Correfoc (fire-run) to end it all, when people dressed as devils, dragons and all things menacing run through the streets with fireworks and all manner of spark producing paraphernalia. It would never be allowed in the UK and that just makes it all the more wonderful. August is not the time to consider moving to Gràcia!
Take a look at the official Festa Major de Gràcia website for further information and a calendar of events (the site is in Catalan only). Or the best thing to do is just go along!