Pamplona is all ready for the opening of fiestas. All over the weekend, the steady influx of tourists has increased in momentum, while the locals are busy checking details as the final countdown moves inexorably forward and the people bring out their traditional white fiesta gear and red neckties from the bottom of the cupboards in readiness for the opening rocket at midday on the 6th of July.
The Pamplona Peña Clubs have organized different events that coincide with their Peña Day – Saturday, 4th of July – which have livened up the old quarter of the city with a lot of brass bands playing around the streets and with the Giants and their entourage lending their support. In addition, the pro-animal organization, Anima Naturalis, has once again this year gathered to make their annual protest against the deemed as cruel treatment suffered by the bulls both in morning Running of the Bulls and in the afternoon bullfights in the Pamplona Bullring.
And as the city makes itself ready for fiestas so too do the people chosen this year to set off the opening Txupinazo rocket. Very shortly, Javier Aranegui, from the Orfeón Pamplonés Brass Band and Chantal Estrade, grand-daughter of one of the founder-members of the Peña La Veleta, will both open the party scenario to nine days of fiesta, runnings of the bulls and the general festive scene. Both of them were selected by the new city hall mayor, Joseba Asirón, who wishes to give recognition to the importance of this Orfeón brass band to the city over the past 150 years as the band celebrate their centenary this year. Equally, he wishes to acknowledge the influence of the Veleta Peña club which, in the early 1930’s, first stimulated the idea of wearing white and red clothing during fiestas and which has now become such a norm for thousands and thousands of local people.
The main concern for the Txupinazo opening event would seem to lie in the weather forecast which, according to the Spanish weather agency, will probably see temperatures of 35º C on Monday’s opening day. It will be important to hydrate oneself to avoid problems.
For those who prefer to watch the Txupinazo opening event in a more relaxed manner, several huge screens have been erected at various points around the downtown area which will broadcast the event through the signal offered by RTVE national TV. These are to be found at the Plaza del Castillo, Paseo Sarasate, Plaza de los Fueros, Parque Antoniutti and Carlos III.
Not long to go now.
Photos: Carlos Mediavilla