Hondarribia Fest – The Best


Spain loves their festivals and recently it was Hondarribia’s turn. And what a festival – a full on week of events spanning everything from parades of giant people to masses of marching bands and a plethora of musical and dance events. Again, not sure how any or all of this gets paid for as it is all FREE.


Musical Events Marquee – Wow! – With 5 Bars!

Each day had a full schedule of events & activities to see, culminating in a nightly midnight musical performance in the marquee pictured above. Unfortunately, I did not manage to make any of these as the only after midnight I even get remotely close to these days is a periodic listen to JJ Cale’s song…

The town and its folks go all out for this festival – this shop went to town with its display windows featuring the Basque traditional dress. We have still not sussed out the guys in the hairy hats & beards & saws – inquiring minds want to know.


Basque Berets, Beards & Hairy Hats

I read about one event that was to take place in the old town where we live that my translated Spanish said – Bull Run for the Kids. Had to see this one! So headed for the town hall where it was officially declared ready to go & viola! Large inflatable bulls chased the wee ones through the streets and the kids all carried some type of semi-hardened balloon that they kept whacking the bulls with, generating a cacophonous sound.


Bull Run for the Wee Ones…

And this was one of my favourites and also a bit creepy – the GIGANTES parade which took place EVERY DAY FOR THE ENTIRE WEEK. I think I sussed it out that different kids won or were chosen each day to be the lucky ones to wear the masks & dance the giant folks & whales around which they seemed to enjoy immensely. All the parade path streets were chocka with families to watch them go by & then join in the parade. By the time it ends up on Calle San Pedro (Hondarribia’s High or Main Street) they had quite a mob!


Masked Wee Ones

Hondarribia is a fishing town so the parade features, besides funny people masks & giant dancing folks, a giant whale and squid.



And if you are a person who likes a decent parade – get to Hondarribia for next year’s festival because you will get your guts full of marching bands. The BIG DAY for the festival was on a Tuesday as that I believe is officially Hondarribia’s birthday, like the 4th of July in the States. And these folks get started early – a 5AM start time that brought the massive marching band directly past our place @ 6AM…yes, 6AM. Hound #1 snoozed through the whole palava…lucky dog.


Clockwise, Top Left: 6AM March By; Arma Plaza – Marching HQ; Sea of Red Berets; The Bar is OPEN!!! 8AM….


Dressed To The Nines…


And Here They Come! Down Calle San Pedro…

And as you might suspect, all this parading & partying comes with some type of cost…and that be trash. Thank the gods that be that Hondarribia employs a virtual army of very hard working clean up folks that do an awesome job of keeping the place spick & span.


Litter, Litter, Everywhere…And Mr. Clean’s Army

And what better way to end a week long fest than with an excellent market. Most of the folks we see at our regular weekly market were here along with some truly delicious charcuterie (got some serious chorizo), cheese and sweets vendors…and of course, da cows.


End of Summer Cornucopia…

Happy Birthday Hondarribia – will miss you next year….



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