After Holy Week, the April Fair in Seville and before the Romería del Rocío, there is another party in Andalusia that takes place in spring, Jerez Horse Fair. A celebration that attracts thousands of visitors every year in search of fun, music and cuisine. From Inn Hostels we want to tell you all about this extraordinary festivity so that you can prepare yourself. So let’s go!
When is the horse fair held?
Declared a Site of International Tourist Interest, the Jerez Fair takes place during the first or second week of May. Like most of the fairs in the area, its origin dates back to the 12th century as a cattle fair, that is, where livestock was bought and sold without taxes. That’s why all the farmers of the region waited for the arrival of the fair to do business.
Currently, the Jerez Fair is the result of the union of the cattle fair of Dehesa de Caulina, the festive fair and the general public open fair of 1903. It is held at Parque Gonzalez Hontoria and lasts for a week or nine days that cover from Saturday to Saturday. Although, it may seem that the Horse Fair shares many similarities with the April Fair in Seville, in reality they are very different:
- Each booth is uniquely decorated: while at the Seville April Fair all booths must maintain the same design, (fabric with white and green stripes or white and red), in Jerez the booths are not only free to express their originality but actually encouraged to. In fact, each year the Horse Tent Contest is held with first prize of up to 2,500 euros for the best decorated booth.
- Horse Carriage Competition: we know that Jerez is a land of wines and horses, hence you’ll find this prestigious horse carriage held to attract some of the best breeders and their “yeguadas” (studs) in the area.
- All booths are public: you can enter all booths without having know a friend of a friend to get in which is what occurs at the Seville Fair. It is a way of ending elitism and to open the party up so that is much more accessible for tourists and visitors.
Tips for going to the Horse Fair
If you’re going to go to the Horse Fair, all that’s needed from you is to have fun and enjoy yourself because the Fair is quintessentially just that, a whole lot of fun. Of course, to get the most out of the experience we have made a list of 5 things that you won’t want to be missing out on:
- “El Alumbrado” The grand turning on of the lights on the first evening of the fair: Every good fair goer knows that the day of the grand turning on of the lights means the Feria has started. Millions of light bulbs are lit along the Real del González Hontoria, followed by a large “oooohhhhh” by the crowd as they watch on by ready, waiting and keen for the grand opening. We advise you not to do an all-nighter on the first night as you will totally burn out and it will take a toll on your body. Take it easy and enjoy yourself as you will still have 6 more days to enjoy of Fair.
- Dance sevillanas even if you don’t know how: don’t worry whether you now the moves or not, it’s just a must have to dance Sevillanas at the May Fair in Jerez. Besides not everyone knows how to dance Sevillanas, even some locals don’t but they still give it a go. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the whole repertoire, but just fling your arms around a bit and move your legs, everyone will appreciate you just getting involved and joining in. The best thing to do is mirror your dance partner, they’ll guide you about and basically watch the rest of the people. After a couple of drinks for sure something vaguely representing Sevillanas will come out.
- Enjoy the horses: the Fair gets its name for a reason. At the Fair the horses strut up and down the centre of the the Fair whereby onlookers can be dazzled by their beauty and presence and if it takes your fancy why not hop on a horse and carriage and take a ride up and down El Real. It’s great to see the Feria of Jerez from another perspective.
- Drinking Tío Pepe: since Jerez is situation on the González Byas company whose best known brand is Tío Pepe, sherry wine is an absolute must and the drink bar none at the Feria del Caballo. This company has a “temple booth” spruced to the nines which every year is sure to get a prize for its spectacular decoration, it is a absolute must see so if we were you we’d take a sneaky peak there. Also, you have to try the “rebujito” which is a white wine sherry spritzer mixed with Sprite. It might seem like a just a simple drink but at the fair for whatever reason it is a glorious and tasty game changer.
- Take a picture with “Las Botas”: “Las Botas” (the boots) are the typical barrels of the wine that are used in the winerys, classic Jerez. Doing your “goog” tourist bit, leaving without taking that posy selfie would be sacrilegious; this is the ideal keepsafe souvenir.
Where can I stay in and around the House Fair?
As the Horse Fair is celebrated in the spring and usually has good weather, take advantage of your stay in the province to Enjoy the beaches of Cádiz. To organize your trip to the province, prepare evening clothes or “arreglá” (dressy) and, of course, a swimming cosy/shorts and towel. One option would be to stay in Cádiz capital to sunbathe during the morning and, in the afternoon, set off for the Feria de Jerez.
In Inn Hostels we have apartments, private rooms and shared rooms in the old town of Cádiz capital, very close to the beach of La Caleta.
Inn Hostels Cádiz
Choose the option that you like best between private and shared rooms. All are equipped with everything you’ll need to spend a few days of unforgettable fun.
We are located in the historic center of Cádiz, very close to the train station so you can easily move around to nearby towns and city such as Jerez de la Frontera. Similarly, we are only a few minutes walk from the beach of La Caleta.
Cádiz Inn Apartaments
Spend a long weekend with friends or as a couple staying in our apartments with a capacity of up to 8 people. A fab option if you want feel like you are home from home. With kitchen, private bathroom, air conditioning, cleaning service you’ll have everything you need.
Enjoy the Horse Fair in Jerez de la Frontera drinking rebujito, snacking on ham and dancing away to sevillanas.