In a country like Spain, where festivals and traditions are part of our identity as citizens and mark the rhythm of the year, we could not miss the grain of sand contributed by Estepona: a town between sea and mountain, between the religious and the pagan, between the tourist and the local, which opens its doors during the four seasons to show us its soul. Do you want to share their parties with us? Join me!
1- Estepona Fair
During the first week of July, one of the town’s big weeks takes place.
The election of the Queen, the Children, Youth and Senior Ladies, held at the Orchidarium, is the event that opens the week where the city becomes a day party, with booths where wine and good ham, the music sounds in notes of artists of category and a lineup of level fills the bullring every afternoon. For the night owls, the party continues at the fairgrounds, with the famous “cacharritos” where you can get your adrenaline pumping at the “Ratón Vacilón”.
These festivities have been gaining importance over the years, and in the past 2022, the great artist José Mercé was in charge of giving the opening speech, but we could also enjoy performances such as Marta Sánchez or Los del Río during the festivities.
Although the best thing about Estepona during these festivities has been its ability to adapt to all citizens: for two hours, the fairground is kept in silence so that people with extreme sensitivity can also enjoy it. We also think of our elders, in special hours for them with snacks and live music, and children have their party with a show at the municipal booth.
2- The San Isidro Fair
From the sea we move to the countryside, which brings us its best products to celebrate the Patron Saint’s Day every May 15 with a good country soup, filling the streets with this aroma. A simple and thick broth, with bread as the main ingredient, which was born so that the peasants could endure the hard days of work. Throughout the day, offerings are held in La Hermandad, traditional dances such as malagueñas or verdiales, and of course the procession from the parish of San José through the streets of the village.
But throughout the week celebrations are held in honor of the patron saint. It all begins with the pilgrimage to the hermitage of the Saint, accompanied by floats, verdiales, flowers, horses and a mass for the pilgrims. During the rest of the week activities for the whole family continue, such as cheese making, Estepona wine and horse contests, children’s parties and of course, DJ and dancing every night at the official stand.
And for all these reasons, these festivities have been declared of Tourist Interest in Andalusia.
3- Virgen del Carmen Day
4- The burning of the moustaches in San Juan
As in all the coast of Spain, on June 23rd the passage from spring to summer is celebrated with big bonfires that fill the beaches with light from midnight onwards. And in a town like Estepona, where its history is fused with the sea, could not miss an event like this.
In the days prior to the event, those who wish to participate can register at the Town Hall to take part in the monkey burning contest. To do so, they will have to create a large artistic figure out of cardboard and paper, usually related to a current issue that is intended to raise awareness, criticize or simply amuse the spectators.
After the jury’s deliberation, the winners will receive a prize of between 800 and 200 euros, but, yes, no one is spared from the burning at 12 o’clock at night!
5- Holy Week
From the pagan, we move on to the religious with festivities that the people of Estepona live with fervor and solemnity. After a whole year of preparation, the Brotherhoods take out their floats in procession on the backs of the costaleros who carry on their shoulders figures of high cultural and patrimonial value. With the procession of La Borriquita on Sunday, the Cautivo on Holy Wednesday or La Vera Cruz on Good Friday, tourists and locals alike are thrilled by the grandeur of the processions and the devotion of the locals.
6- Estepona lives its streets
This is a relatively recent festival, this year being its eighth edition, and it is usually held during a weekend in March or April. Its main objective is to publicize the businesses that fill the city with life and show that Estepona is more than just a beach and luxury hotels. The program includes a wide variety of activities such as flamenco, urban races, ham and tapas cutting contests or theater throughout the old town of Estepona, which since its remodeling under the program ‘Estepona, Garden of the Costa del Sol’, has beautiful flower pots that fill the white walls with color.
7- Tourist Day
During the month of August could not miss a day in honor of one of the protagonists of life in Estepona: the tourist. On this day, the mayor gives recognition to the sector for promoting and boosting the local economy, and also recognizes with an honorary title to an important tourist of the town, as happened in 2021 with the sports director of cycling teams Josean Fernandez, ‘Matxin’, based in the town, thanking him for having chosen the town as a place of residence of the cycling teams.
Another of the things that visitors appreciate the most is the distribution of flowers that the Ladies and Queens of the festival hand out to tourists as a souvenir of their visit to the city that, along with the wine tasting and the obligatory photo with the Monument to the Tourist, makes them feel like one more of the city.
I hope that all this will encourage you to come and spend a few days in this wonderful town, which with its generosity makes both visitors and locals feel that there is a place for them in each of its festivals.