Spain's bustling city of Barcelona is filled with proud locals who work hard to preserve and celebrate their individual neighborhoods, but the historic neighborhood of Barceloneta goes the extra mile with the Fiesta de Barceloneta that is held for several days near the end of September each year. This is a huge event that is centered on the Festival of San Miguel, which is the neighborhood's place of worship, and there are dozens of activities and events to be enjoyed by adults, children and entire families. As a combined effort between the La Barceloneta Festival Commission and the Neighborhood Association, Fiesta de Barceloneta tends to be one of Barcelona's most popular events, and you won't want to miss any of it.
This incredible festival dates all the way back to 1855 as a celebration of the neighborhood's 100th year of existence, and it was held off and on until it became a yearly tradition beginning in 1990. It grows bigger and better each year as new activities and events are added and expanded, and the neighborhood is so dramatically decorated that it's an attraction in itself. These are just a few of Fiesta de Barceloneta's greatest highlights.
The Cannon Parade
Children and lovers of sweets of any age adore this over-the-top event that features a Napoleonic general in full military dress and two big-headed giants named Pep Barcelo and Maria la Neta that march through the streets with huge cannons. Instead of cannonballs, this fun trio sprays the crowd with pounds of candy each time the cannons are fired. There's always enough candy for everyone, but the giants make sure to hand-deliver the sweets to any child who may have been too shy to run out and catch it.
The candy cannon first showed up in the Barceloneta festivities in 1912 when local Pancrac Farell visited France and saw a similar device in one of their celebrations. He wanted his neighborhood's children to have that same kind of wonderful fun, so he set to work creating a candy cannon of his own for the Fiesta de Barceloneta.
Held in the evenings on the beach, the Habanera showcases a Cuban style of music and dance that was wildly popular in the later part of the 19th century. Kick off your shoes and dance in the sand between never-ending glasses of burnt rum while the sun sets over the sea, and expect to enjoy some laughs at the ribald humor contained in the sailor shanties that are brilliantly sung by talented musicians.
Plans for 2018
In addition to these two mainstays, several more items have been added to the 2018 agenda. A full schedule has not yet been released to the public, but these are a few that have been confirmed.
- Live concerts
- Secondhand market
- Dancing to a live orchestra
- Chocolate event
- Fire runs
- Catalan bandits in traditional costume
- Traditional dishes (fish tapas, Catalan sausages)
- Daily activities for children
- Multiple parades