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Culture

Art, feeling and tradition

Feria de Abril de Mairena del Alcor

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The April Fair, declared an Andalusian Festival of Tourist Interest, is a particular hallmark of Mairena del Alcor, a unique occasion in which the town recognises and identifies itself with its own character. There are abundant written testimonies by many authors and researchers about the importance, scope and age of this Fair, including Washington Irving and Estébanez Calderón, George Bonsor, Marcelino Perez Calvo, Rogelio Marin, Eusebio Perez Puerto, Andres Morales, Antonio Oviedo.

It was founded in 1441 under a concession granted by King Juan II of Castile to Pedro Ponce de León, Lord of Mairena, to help repopulate the town, supplying goods and allowing the movement of livestock in the region. In 1757, the Fair’s layout was changed by Royal Provision, establishing 25, 26 and 27 April as the date of its celebration. Given that it occurs early in the year, it is the first Fair that takes place in the Lower Andalusia.

Many writers and artists who visited the Fair bear testimony to its fame, including the Spaniards Serafín Estébanez Calderón, Tomás Rubí, Manuel M. de Santa Ana, and Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, and foreigners, such as Richard Ford, Standisch and Washington Irving. The “costumbrista” artists of the Sevillian School, such as Valeriano Bécquer, Villaamil, Cabral Bejarano, Lameyer, Andrés Cortés, and the Frenchman Blanchard, created important works of art inspired by the Fair.

The Duke of Arcos was the administrator of the Fair during the second half of the 18th century. The City Council took over starting in the 19th century. Numerous Royal provisions, court orders and edicts have produced a specific legal framework for the Fair. Since the second half of the 18th century, Mairena’s regulations have reached levels of efficiency and flexibility that enable proper management of the complexities of a commercial and entertainment-based Fair, accommodating the interests of farmers, sellers, the Town Council and the Royal Treasury. 
This formula, especially in terms of taxation, was so successful that it ensured Mairena’s dominance for a century, until the creation of the Seville Fair. This structure served as a model for creating or reforming other fairs, including those in Villamartín, Écija and Seville. 

Approximate date
April
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