Basic guide for attending the San Bernabé Fair in Marbella
The Marbella Fair is one of the most important festivals in the city of Marbella, as well as one of great tradition. This fair represents the best of the Andalusian flavour, with flamenco dresses taking an important role in this celebration. Locals and foreigners come together to enjoy the dance, the music, some good wine and fine gastronomy throughout a whole week.
During daytime, the epicentre of the Marbella Fair is El Paseo de la Alameda and Avenida del Mar, where different bars are installed as well as stages to present different performances.
At night, the Marbella Fair is moved to Recinto Ferial La Cañada Fase III, where important artists perform.
The 2017 Marbella Fair
This year’s fair is going to take place from June 6th to June 12th. A couple of days before that, on Sunday, June 4th, the traditional Romería de San Bernabé is celebrated. This event starts at 8:30 a.m. with fireworks indicating the start of the procession from Casa Hermandad (Rincón de San Bernabé.) Also, during this event, the attendants are offered free churros with chocolate.
The procession in Romería to the Ermita de San Bernabé starts at 9:00 a.m. The pilgrimage goes as follow: Casa Hermandad Romeros de San Bernabé, Avda. Trapiche, Avda. Mayorazgo, C/ José Luis Morales, C/ Pinsapo, C/ Calvario, Avda. Cánovas del Castillo, Camino del Pinar, C/ Buchinger, and ends at Pinar de Nagüeles.
The Misa de los Romeros (a traditional mass) is scheduled to start at noon at the Ermita del San Bernabé.
The recreational activities start at 2:00 p.m. at Pinar de Nagüeles and include a great ball hosted by Dúo Arenal, a popular paella offered by the Municipal Delegation of the Celebrations, and a competition of flamenco schools.
2017 Marbella Fair’s program
Tuesday, June 6th:
- At 10:00 p.m., the opening ceremonies start at the Francisco Cuevas Blanco Park (specifically at Terrazas Puerto Deportivo). The delivery of the opening address by Sergio Scariolo, the election and crowning of the San Bernabé Fair Queens and Ladies (infantile and juvenile), Miss Congeniality and her Ladies 2017, and also the election of the Popular Queen amongst the females attending the ceremonies.
- At 11:00 p.m., a musical, aerial and aquatic firework show at Playa del Faro.
Wednesday, June 7th:
- Opening ceremonies of the Feria de Día (Day Fair) take place in the Arch, located in the Parque de la Alameda Park, next to the Fountain of the Virgin of El Rocio; at 1:00 p.m.
- Opening of the bars installed in Parque de la Alameda Park and on Avenida del Mar, each location has its own program.
- Start of activities in Caseta Mi Hogar, located in Plaza del Mercado square.
- Big children’s party (free entrance) in the Auditorium of Recinto Ferial La Cañada, fase III; from 7:00 p.m. onwards. Children will enjoy bouncy castles, gluten-free cake, free sodas, a kids show, games and surprises.
- Children’s Day, featuring affordable prices on the Fair’s mechanical attractions; from 7:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.
- Performance by the Dance Academies in the stage located on Calle Juan Ruiz (Av. del Mar), from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
- Feria de Noche’s (Night Fair) venue and attractions opening at 7:00 p.m.
- Performance by the Dance Academies in the Caseta, located on the Plaza Central “San Bernabé” of the Recinto Ferial La Cañada III; from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Thursday, June 8th
- Opening of the bars in Parque de la Alameda and on Avenida del Mar, each location has its own program, at 1:00 p.m.
- New performances by the Dance Academies in the same stages and the same schedule as the day before.
- Feria de Noche’s venue and attractions opening at 7:00 p.m.
- Dance Academy competition in the Fair’s auditorium at 8:00 p.m.
- Competition of local groups in the previously mentioned auditorium at 11:00 p.m.
Friday, June 9th
Night performances in the Fair’s auditorium:
- Concert by Fran Terrent in the Fair’s auditorium at 9:00 p.m.; free admission until reaching maximum occupancy.
- Concert by Funambulista in the Fair’s auditorium at 11:00 p.m.; free admission until reaching maximum occupancy.
Saturday, June 10th
- Bell ringing and a firework show. Also, local authorities will display the City’s Banner in the balcony of the City Hall at noon.
- Pasacalles de Gigantes y Cabezudos (traditional parade). It is going to start at Plaza de la Victoria square, and then continue along Calle Estación, Plaza de los Naranjos, Calle Nueva, Calle Francisco Echamendi, Plaza África, Calle África, Av. Ramón y Cajal, Paseo de la Alameda, Av. Ramón y Cajal, Calle Fortaleza, Calle Pedraza and it will finish at Plaza de la Victoria square, where it started.
- From 1:00 p.m. onwards, the acts are similar to the ones on the day before; expect for the program in the Fair’s auditorium. In this opportunity, there is going to be a concert by José Mercé 11:00 p.m.; free admittance until reaching maximum occupancy.
Sunday, June 11th
- Religious and civil acts, 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
- Opening of the bars at Parque de la Alameda and on Avenida del Mar, at 1:00 p.m.
- Performances by Dance Academies in the stage of Calle Juan Ruiz, on Av. del Mar; from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
- Starting at 9:00 p.m., Andalusian Rock Festival, with performances by Triana, Medina Azahara and Alameda; in the Fair’s auditorium. Free admittance until reaching maximum occupancy.
Monday, June 12th
- Opening of the bars at Parque de la Alameda and on Avenida del Mar, at 1:00 p.m.
How to get there
During daytime, the Fair takes place in Parque de la Alameda and on Avenida del Mar.
At night, the Fair takes place at Recinto Ferial La Cañada Fase III.
1. Free bus
There is a free pick-up bus route to take people from the city to El Real. There are 16 bus stops in total:
- Shell Petrol Station (Bus Station). Click Google Maps
- Avda. Cánovas del Castillo (El Cenit housing development). Click Google Maps
- Avda. Ricardo Soriano (El Pirulí). Click Google Maps
- Avda. Ricardo Soriano (Zona 7 Puertas- Unicaja). Click Google Maps
- Avda. Severo Ochoa (Marbell Center building). Click Google Maps
- Travesía Huerta de los Cristales (Eroski). Click Google Maps
- C/ Vázquez Clavel (‘El Punto’). Click Google Maps
- C/ Serenata (Mercadona). Click Google Maps
- The fair venue. Click Google Maps
- Calle Serenata (BBVA – Antiguo Parque de Bomberos). Click Google Maps
- Calle Serenata (Redes Club). Click Google Maps
- Travesía Huerta de los Cristales (Restaurante Jardín Chino). Click Google Maps
- Avda. Severo Ochoa (Berrocal). Click Google Maps
- Avda. Ricardo Soriano (Edif. María III). Click Google Maps
- Avda. Ricardo Soriano (Mercadona). Click Google Maps
- Avda. Cánovas del Castillo (Edif. La Concha). Click Google Maps
From 6:00 p.m. to 03:00 a.m., the City Council of Marbella also puts into operation a train that departs from Parque Comercial La Cañada and from Av.José Manuel Vallés (next to the Valle Azul building.)
You can opt to leave your car at the Las Albarizas lots, where the Town Hall has provided a mini-train service as far as El Real that is also free and that has a pick-up point in the vicinity where avenida José Manuel Vallés ends. From La Cañada to the feria site, access is by foot or by the public transport means provided only.
The San Bernabé fiestas pay homage year after year to the Patron Saint of Marbella. Leisure, fun, the coming together of locals and a good atmosphere take over the city on these fiesta days. San Bernabé Day is also Carmen Day, one of the more important times of the year for Marbella.
These fiestas commemorate the Reconquest of Marbella by the Catholic Monarchs in 1485. During this week of the Fair, locals, as well as tourists and visitors, have the chance to enjoy traditional and colourful Andalusian fiestas.
Queens and Ladies of the San Bernabé Fiestas
In Marbella on these days, a variety of activities and performances are organised for both the Daytime Fair and the Night time Fair. A few weeks before the Fair opens, the traditional pageant to choose the Queens and Ladies of the San Bernabé Fiestas is held.
For one week, booths and cachorros take over Marbella and the old quarter and fair site display colourful flags. People wear traditional dress and both tourists and locals enjoy the picturesque charm of traditional Andalusian fiestas. The programming is varied and fun, and includes shows, processions, processions carrying the Virgin, events and performances of all kinds.
The large amount of people who come to this event creates a great atmosphere, with the streets full of life and colour and everyone having fun, but on the other hand, a couple of little things should be taken into account in order to enjoy the fair as much as possible: June is usually pretty hot so it is best to have a hat and bottle of water to hand. As always, when there are many people, there can be pickpockets. These are isolated and infrequent cases, but not carrying much money and paying attention are two simple precautions that can be very useful.
Sampling the tapas booths
All that dancing will make you hungry and thirsty and, if the rest of the year we tend to eat traditional Andalusian and Mediterranean cuisine, this is even more pronounced during the San Bernabé Fair. Horse riders and people proudly wearing Gitana dress are now as popular as Spanish omelette, fried fish and churros with hot chocolate when the fair is over.
Bear in mind, too, that people do not have a meal at the Feria, but rather snack and for this the Iberian pork products are the best choice. But everyone knows that there are two culinary stars: ham and cheese. We eat with our hands and you should try the Costa del Sol’s seafood delicacies.
Dinner is done well at the Fair. Everyone enjoys El Real, the booths and meeting up with friends, and the customary small sandwiches are savoured, especially by the little ones. The adults, for their part, can try a wide range of small sandwiches accompanied by fried peppers.
Eating is a serious business at the Fair that stretches far into the night. When the lights go off and the day begins, people say goodbye over churros with hot chocolate or delicious fritters. They never go hungry.
All this is washed down with a refreshing drink, since this time of year is usually pretty hot in Marbella. The most traditional way to cool down is with a glass of beer or manzanilla or fino sherry. You can also try a traditional drink: rebujito, which is made with fino sherry and Seven Up. Whatever method you choose, remember to drink in moderation so you can enjoy the Fair with all your senses sharpened.
Don’t forget Marbella!
There is a lot more to see in Marbella aside from the San Bernabé Fair. Bear in mind that on these days the city is empty as everyone goes to the Fair, so it can be the perfect time to enjoy Marbella’s monuments or get lost in the city’s streets.
WHERE TO STAY
If you decide to come to Marbella, make sure you stay at Fuerte Hoteles. Fuerte Marbella is a true symbol for the city and has over 50 years’ experience. The establishment has 263 rooms, all soundproof and equipped with air conditioning, satellite TV, free WiFi, safe and private bathroom with amenities and a hairdryer, among other services. It is also surrounded by gardens, with unbeatable sea views and two outdoor pools.