Castalla presents the programme for the Fiestas de Vaca 2023 with bull running, bullfighting events, open-air dances and ‘tardeos’

  • This year’s celebrations in honour of San Roque give prominence to the old town with a running of the bulls from the church and along the main street

Castalla Town Council has presented the programme for the Fiestas de Vaca 2023. The popular celebrations in honour of San Roque, the patron saint of the town, will take place from Saturday 12 to Wednesday 16 August. The Consistory organises these bullfighting festivities in collaboration with the members of the Vaca Commission and with the participation of the ‘La Paloma’ Livestock Farm.

The mayor of Castalla and councillor for Fiestas, Jesús López, has highlighted the potential of the Fiestas de Vaca, “in which even more people take part than in our Moors and Christians celebrations”. In fact, the mayor stressed, “the people who come to visit us spend the whole day in the town, enjoy the bullfighting events and eat and dine in the bars and restaurants of our hoteliers, which benefits the whole town. Our aim is for them to stay with us for as long as possible, so that they can get to know and participate in our Castilian essence”.

The chupinazo will kick off the Fiestas de Vaca 2023, where a large number of people are expected on 12 August at 19:00 in the Town Hall square. Afterwards, the patron saint San Roque will be carried to the bullrings. The first running of the bulls and release of the cows will take place in the early hours of Saturday morning at 00:00 hours. Once the event is over, the Plaza Mayor will host the verbena (street party).

The following day, Sunday 13th August, the first children’s bull run with carretones will be held from 12:00 noon onwards. In the afternoon, it will be the turn of a new encierro and release of cows and bulls, between 18:30 and 20:30. At night, the cows and bulls will be released again from 00:00 hours.

On Monday 14th August at 9:30 a.m. the bull run will take place, which, as a novelty this year, starts from the church and runs along the Calle Mayor. In the afternoon, another opportunity to attend the release of cows and bulls from 18:30 hours. At midnight, the cows will be released and there will be an open-air dance.

Tuesday 15th August will begin with mass in the church from 10:00 a.m., followed by the procession of Our Lady of the Assumption and the Patron Saint San Roque. In the afternoon, the placeta El Carreter will be the epicentre of the fiesta with a “tardeo” from 17:00 to 20:30 with the participation of all the bullfighting clubs.

Finally, Wednesday 16th August will be the end of the festivities. At midday there will be a children’s running of the bulls with carts between 12:00 and 13:00. In the afternoon, from 18:30 hours onwards, the last release of cows and bulls will take place, with the subsequent ‘Fin de fiesta’.

One of the novelties this year has to do with the route of the encierro, which changes its traditional route and, on this occasion, will start from the Plaza de la Iglesia, with the aim of revitalising this part of the old quarter as well. From there, the animals will run along Calle Mayor and Calle Mig until they reach the bull run. In this sense, the councillor for Bullfighting Festivities, Javier Sirvent, explained that “in this way we give prominence to an emblematic part of the streets of Castalla, which is located in the old town and, at the same time, we do not disturb the local catering trade, as there are no terraces in the path of the heifers”.

The councillor also announced that on the afternoon of the 15th August, the release of cows has been replaced by a “bullfighting afternoon” in the placeta El Carreter. Sirvent declared that “in this way we bring together all the Peñas de la Vaca and the local people in the same place, with the aim of enhancing the festive atmosphere”. Finally, the councillor confirmed that the street parties on Sunday 13 and Tuesday 15 August have been moved to the Plaza Mayor.

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