Albacete will not hold its traditional fair from September 7 to 17 for the second consecutive year due to the coronavirus. This Monday the mayor, Emilio Sáez, made it official, announcing a wide cultural programming on those dates, both in part of the Fairgrounds and in the different neighborhoods from the city.
Sáez appeared at a press conference together with the vice mayor and councilor for Feria, Vicente Casañ, and the councilor for Barrios and Peoples, Ana Albaladejo. The decision has been agreed with all the municipal groups of the City Council, after listening to associations and sectors involved, from the Federation of Neighborhood Associations, through the Hospitality Association and the Trade Federation, among others.
“There will be no Fair as we know it, we will not open the Puerta de Hierros, because this act is full of symbolism,” said Emilio Sáez, who explained that although the Ministry of Health of Castilla-La Mancha believes that in September the percentage of the vaccinated population will exceed 70%, it is also true that by then a good part of the young people will still be unvaccinated.
The mayor affirmed that there will be six locations, in squares as open as possible and that have yet to be decided, where the cultural programming will take place. In addition, the Fairgrounds will open in what is known as Rabo de la Sartén, in such a way that a stage will be installed and a large open-air auditorium will be created. The socio-sanitary associations will be able to open their booths and have programming, while the option of opening the intermediate Circle where the toy and knife makers are installed is being studied. What is ruled out is to open the interior Templete area dedicated to gastronomy.
On the other hand, the Virgin of Los Llanos will not travel by horseback, but it will be taken to the Fairgrounds and will be installed outside the chapel, in a space that will be enabled so that it can be visited. The Fairground “has too many narrow areas and we cannot risk arriving at a weekend and having 450,000 people there, we must have a head and when 2022 arrives we will surely be able to return to our fair,” added the mayor.
Meanwhile, on the Paseo de la Feria, alternatives are being studied, such as keeping the bars until September 17. If not, this space would be used for attractions. However, the fairground attractions will be located in different places around the Fairgrounds; for example, in the Ejidos. Likewise, the Craft Fair will be held in its usual format, occupying the same space as always. There will also be musical programming, with concerts that will be held both in the Caseta de los Jardinillos and on a large stage that will be installed on the right bank of the Ejidos.
Finally, there will be a bullfighting fair in the bullring, once the award contract has been formalized and a larger capacity is allowed. In addition, for September, the limitations and restrictions are expected to be even lower.