Mediterranean countries are known for the fairs that take place in its many towns and cities, and happy the traveller that encounters any such fair in the course of their journey. Gibraltar, is no exception, and tourists visiting the Rock in August may well be in luck and coincide their trip with the annual Gibraltar Fair.
A tradition going back generations, the annual fair was a time when whole families could briefly take a break from work and the usual routine chores, and gather together with friends and the local community to enjoy the festivities. Nowadays, while the lights are perhaps brighter, the sound systems louder and the rides perhaps much more daring and varied, the fair still has some familiar features: a wide variety of rides to suit all sorts of age groups, from gentle merry-go-rounds for the little ones to the Viking Ship which turns itself upside down, for the older and more daring.
Of course, Gibraltar’s Fair is more than just rides. Visitors can enjoy taking part in a wide variety of games, raffles and tombolas from the many stalls scattered about the fair, many of these run by local charities and community groups. There are numerous food stalls, from those serving the usual fair’s fare of hot dogs and hamburgers, to those serving fish and chips, pinchitos (a spicy skewer of charcoal grilled lamb, a favourite among locals and tourists alike), and the perennially popular churros – best served, in this writer’s opinion, dipped in thick, creamy hot chocolate alongside a good coffee. There are also the Family Pavilion, where the entertainment continues, with food and drink available during evening after evening of live entertainment, and the Youth Pavilion, where live music is geared at the more energetic tastes of the young.
Bright, lively and fun, the Gibraltar Fair is very much a local tradition, but one which welcomes visitors from all over the world, whether they are able to drop in as part of a day trip after touring the many historical sites, the Upper Rock and the excellent shops that Gibraltar has to offer, or whether their cruise schedule is such that the ship is still berthed at Gibraltar Harbour until late into the evening; the sight of a stream of tourists heading for the cruise terminal wielding candy floss and holding onto a soft toy won at a stall is not unusual!
Gibraltar’s summer evenings are long and balmy for everyone; days spent on the beach, on tours, at the shops, or at one of the many activities available here, are lengthened and enlivened by the pleasant and varied evening activities on offer, whether at restaurants, bars and clubs, in open air venues such as Casemates where free family entertainment is laid on two evenings a week…and of course, summer in Gibraltar wouldn’t quite be summer, if it wasn’t for all the fun of the fair!