(Flamenco) Dress Envy in Sevilla: La Feria de Abril

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(Flamenco) Dress Envy in Sevilla: La Feria de Abril

La Feria de Abril, Sevilla, Spain
The charade of Seville’s Feria is most likely the best people-watching I’ve ever done. Better yet, it’s a spectacle of BEAUTIFUL flamenco dresses. The official outfit of the festivities, I’d ballpark that 95% of guests are adorned with these glamorous duds.
In a nutshell, La Feria de Abril is a one week party that by day is a place for families: horse carriage rides, traditional events and a huge amusement park filled with rickety rides. By night, it’s the site for serious partying. Often times, party goers don’t arrive until midnight or later after an evening of drinking elsewhere in town.
La Feria de Abril, Sevilla, Spain
La Feria de Abril, Sevilla, Spain

 

La Feria de Abril, Sevilla, Spain

 

La Feria de Abril, Sevilla, Spain

 

La Feria de Abril, Sevilla, Spain

 

For two solid hours I did nothing but take pictures and mumble comments to my male coworker about how beautiful all the flamenco dresses were (I’m quite sure he could’ve cared less). I had serious case of dress envy while I milled about in my preppy seersucker shorts and cotton tank. #tourist

La Feria de Abril, Sevilla, Spain

La Feria de Abril, Sevilla, Spain
The festival grounds consist of a huge grid of streets lined with hundreds of casetas, small invite-only covered rooms owned by prominent families, groups of friends, trade associations and political parties all wanting to show their guests a great time (and their wealth). Inside the casetas food is served, drinks are poured, art hangs on the walls, and flamenco bands play happily.

 

While I enviously peered in, I couldn’t help but be happy to witness the action. The history of La Feria de Abril dates back to 1847 when it was a simple livestock fair. Later, a handful of casetas helped transform the fair into what it is today. Unlike some public celebrations, this one is steeped in tradition, beyond just the clothing. Bull fighting, specialty foods and drinks and traditional flamenco dancing collaborate to make this a truly Andalusian event.

La Feria de Abril, Sevilla, Spain

Aside from the brightly colored dresses, ruffles, jumbo earrings, tassels and heels, the ladies also adorn their hair with maravilla flowers. Maravilla flowers are any large colorful flower like a carnation, rose or hibiscus. The flowers are chosen specifically to match their flowing dresses or blouses, drawing attention to the face.
 
I wanted one of my own, badly.

 

La Feria de Abril, Sevilla, Spain

 

La Feria de Abril, Sevilla, Spain

 

La Feria de Abril, Sevilla, Spain

 

La Feria de Abril, Sevilla, Spain


Initially this picture was going to just be me and the two gals in the pink, but just like my friends and I, as soon as someone spotted a group shot, everyone jumped in. 

La Feria de Abril, Sevilla, Spain

After strolling around the caseta’s for awhile we popped over to the adjacent fair grounds. From everything I read, these rides are put together in a hurry so I wasn’t keen to partake but the setting sun sure added some nice light for pictures!

La Feria de Abril, Sevilla, Spain

La Feria de Abril, Sevilla, Spain

 

La Feria de Abril, Sevilla, Spain

 

La Feria de Abril, Sevilla, Spain

La Feria de Abril, Sevilla, Spain

 

La Feria de Abril, Sevilla, Spain
With the sunset at 9:30PM it was just about dinner time and our bellies were getting hungry. Many restaurants don’t even open until 9PM so I had to adapt my eating schedule a little lot on this trip. Strolling back into Sevilla’s historic city center, we grabbed dinner around 11PM and made our way home. That night I slept soundly as I dreamed of dancing flamenco dresses. Sigh.

 

La Feria de Abril, Sevilla, Spain

 

La Feria de Abril, Sevilla, Spain

 

Sevilla, Spain

Here’s the good news, if you don’t know anyone in Sevilla there’s multiple public casetas that are similarly filled with music and food. All you need is a flamenco dress and you’re on your way!
The schedule for the next few years, pencil it in!
Sevilla Feria:
April 21 – 26, 2015
April 12 – 17, 2016
May 2 – 7, 2017
  • Wow this is beautiful! I love your pic everytime. I went to the Rota Feria which came a little before the Seville Feria a couple of weeks ago but I unfortunately didn’ thave my camera. You captured it perfectly. I don’t remember much from Feria to be honest lol.

  • Beautiful pictures!! Isn’t it a bit like time travel? Apart from the fun fair of course. But the dresses look quite old and traditional. And with the horse carriages it definitely looks like the 19th century on some pictures, Really cool!

  • BAH Margot I love all of your photos!! I haven’t ever dared to bring my nice camera to the fairgrounds because of all of the dust and rebujito, haha! And dresses aren’t terribly pricey. They one in my disqus photo was only 125 euros, and a new one I designed 220! Sure, it wasn’t top the of line, but I loved it! Next time you come during Feria, let me know!

  • Wow, I love your photos. Those costumes are gorgeous!

  • Those dresses are beautiful! What an awesome thing to see.

  • Gorgeous photos! I love feria – off to Córdoba next week. I have never managed to leave before 11 though!

  • Lovely photos!! I loved all the Spanish celebrations and joining in! My girls have costumes from a celebration in Madrid called Saint Isidro. I will cherish those costumes forever!

  • What a neat experience and those dresses are so colorful!

  • looks like a total dreamfest!! i dying over the little girls especially. ps. love your new profile pic!

  • I love the feria dresses as well. My friend told me that they wear them to town after town for all the ferias! Fun!

  • Wonderful shots! Sounds like a fun party and a reason to buy a very unique dress 😉

  • Your pictures are gorgeous! Wow this looks so fun and those dresses are amazing, I mean they seem to fit everyone and all shapes so perfectly!

  • Oh. My. Goodness. This is amazing! It’s like you stepped into a story book! The dresses and the sunset photos?? Incredible. Great job telling the story of the festival through photographs- I love hos many portraits you were able to take. I have never heard of this festival before but I think I may need to add it to the bucket list!

  • What a cool event, I’d love to go! People watching at it’s finest indeed!!! You’ve really captured some absolutely gorgeous images here.

  • Yeah, isn’t it amazing? I’m not sure of the exact process but I’d bet everyone get theirs custom made. I really want one but I know it’d take me ages to pick out the color/ruffle combo. 🙂

  • yay! I think so too! perhaps I’ll sub out my WEDDING dress for one! 😉

  • Thanks for the sweet compliments, Sammy! 🙂

  • Thanks, dear! I hope you can make it there someday soon and people-watch first hand! 😀

  • Erica, you are so sweet! It was funny, initially I was nervous to ask to take the girls pictures but they were more than happy to get together and pose. Kind of like a fancy public prom of sorts? I’m glad you added the Feria to your bucket list, I bet you’d come away with wonderful pictures! 🙂

  • Yes! Next time I’m definitely going to partake and sneak my way into one of the private casetas. It’ll be awesome until someone tries to speak to me in Spanish… dagger. 🙂

  • Ahh, that sounds like so much fun! I’d LOVE to go again and dress the part!

  • Thanks, deary! Whenever I have kids, I’m going to dress my kids in tiny Flamenco dresses everyday. Adorable, right? 🙂

  • Thanks, Dear! It was definitely a wonderful experience! I love those dresses too!

  • Oh my – I bet those little costumes are just precious! Is Saint Isidro similar to La Feria? (Are you giving me a great reason to visit Madrid again? Say yes!)

  • Oh, I’m so jealous! I really want to go again next year and seriously take part. What’d you think of that Sherry Spritzer?

  • Thanks, dear! It was a wonderful event to witness! Next year, I want to actually take part. 🙂

  • Aren’t they ever! I really wish I had a valid reason to wear Flamenco dresses here in Germany. 🙂

  • Oh you bet I will! Dan and I have already penciled it in for next year. I love that you have TWO dresses, that’s so awesome. Did you get to pick out all the tassel and ruffle colors for your new one?

  • I did pick out the design of my new and customized it to my liking. It was just what I wanted!

  • You’re so right. I commented to Dan that I really haven’t seen quite such an authentic cultural event before (if that makes sense). For it’s size, I definitely anticipated that it’d be commercialized with lots of kitschy products for sale but that really wasn’t the case. I definitely felt like I stepped back into time, it was wonderful.

  • Haha, whoops, just a reason to go back right? Did you wear a flamenco dress?

  • Welp, now I’m extra jealous. I want to have a custom Flamenco dress made at some point in my life. Dan and I absolutely love Spain so if you would like to flipflop with us and move to Germany we’re all in. 😉

  • I’m thinking it’s the equivalent, but not entirely sure. I wrote about it with pics of the costumes. I have to say, I like Sevilla’s dresses better! 😉 http://www.girl-meets-globe.com/2011/05/saint-isidro.html

  • The colors are unbelievable! And, as usual, your photos are amazing. Those twins in matching outfits are so cute! I want a dress too, they look like they’d be so fun to dance in!

  • haha it would be one in every colour!

  • I swear if I have twins (I’m not pregnant!) I’m going to make them wear mini flamenco dresses every single day. They are adorable! 😀

  • Ah, adorable! I love the little bonnet/handkerchiefs. Yep, there, you did. Now I can tell Dan that we MUST go to Madrid and see this thing first hand. Thank you.

  • That looks like so much fun! I want one too now! 🙂

  • I love rebujito – the only problem is that it goes down far too easily in the hot weather! You should definitely go back next year, or maybe try another one where you can get in all the casetas. I’ve heard good things about Jerez & will let you know about Córdoba! I love small town ferias too, and it can be easier to meet people at those!

  • No I didn’t wear one. I saw a lot for sale at the Gypsy Market but I thought they were ugly until I actually saw people wearing them. Plus, I really didn’t have enough time at Feria to justify buying one. Did you get to wear one?

  • Wow, your photos are incredible! I think you’ve captured the essence of Feria perfectly. Sevilla is one of my favorite places in the entire world. I’m so glad I found your blog via Travel Tuesday 🙂 Can’t wait to follow along!

  • Yay! Let’s get matching ones! 😉

  • Courtney, thanks so much for the compliments about my pictures! You’re so sweet!

    Oh boy, I agree, Sevilla is a gem! Do you usually stay in the historic center? What brought you to Madrid? Life must be a blast there. Dan and I visited Mercado de San Miguel and absolutely LOVED it.

  • Have fun in Cordoba! Yes, please let me know how it goes! In the Andalusian trinity, Dan and I have made it to Granada and Sevilla but not Cordoba. Shame on us, right!? 😀

  • No, I had lame-o seersucker shorts and a tank top, definitely stuck out like a sore thumb. Next time, right?

  • Oh wow!! Serious dress envy. I have a good friend in Sevilla. Maybe a visit is in order? 😉

  • WOW!!! I’ve got to agree with other commenters – I’ve got major dress envy! SO beautiful!

  • I know! I’d seen flamenco dresses before but these were all so ornate but flattering. The color combinations were perfect too!

  • Yes, ma’am! I believe a visit is definitely in order! 😀

  • Wow! Those dresses are gorgeous–they’re making me want one!

  • These photos are gorgeous 🙂 I’ve heard a lot about Sevilla but I haven’t been able to make it there myself… this gives me yet another reason to!

  • Wow – your photos – the people and colours. This festival looks truly beautiful. April 2015 is pencilled in!
    Claire xx | somewhere… beyond the sea

  • Hey! Here’s my post about Cordoba: http://talesofabritabroad.blogspot.com.es/2014/05/cordoba-in-may-feria-de-nuestra-senora.html
    I enjoyed the feria, it’s quite a bit smaller than Seville’s so has a more local feel, but still bigger than a lot of the ones I’ve been to in towns. There were some really beautiful dresses around! Cordoba is definitely worth a visit when you return to Spain… don’t worry about not visiting this time, it gives you a reason to go back!