Barcelona’s biggest annual festival celebrates La Mercè, the Patron Saint of Barcelona, who according to legend did a good job in removing a tiresome plague of locusts that once visited the city. They never came back, so as long as we keep celebrating in her honour we are safe!
La Mercè festival has over 500 big and small activities, parades, concerts, firework displays, air shows, a 10km run and lots more events happening through out the city of Barcelona from the Friday 19th September until 24th September, the latter being a public holiday.
The Mercè Festival activities fall into 4 main areas:
The Festival of Music
Concerts in the streets and parks all over Barcelona, including the BAM music festival: http://www.bcn.cat/bam
The Festival of Tradition
Castellers competitions (human towers), capgrossos and gegant parades (dwarves with big heads and giants) and an entire menagerie of festive animals, accompanied by guests from Mediterranean countries.
The Festival in the Sky – Festa al Cel
The biggest event of the Air festival is the acrobatic air show featuring jets, balloons and gliders and more. This event is actually at the week-end after the Mercè and takes place at the Parc del Forum
The Festival of Fire
All types of sparks, from the pyrotechnical fireworks and music show to the correfoc (literally a five-run).
Food and wine tasting festivals
There are several smaller festivals that are part of the Mercè festival.
Among other popular festivals during the Merce is the street book fair, la 57 Feria del Libro de Ocasión Antiguo y Moderno, which starts on 19th September and runs until end of the first week of October. It can be found on the streets of Passeig de Gracia from Plaza Catalunya to Arago. Lots of bargains to be found!
And last but definitely not least we must mention the Festival Solar which takes place in the Parc de la Cuitadella. This purpose is to raise awareness of environmental issues and renewable energy. Visit them at http://www.festivalsolar.org/
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