Albufeira’s birthday bash

news: Albufeira’s birthday bash

City thanks supporters

Albufeira celebrated its 500th year anniversary as a city with a series of events last Friday, including a presentation ceremony to award local businesses and high profile people from the region with medals of honour and a Cliff Richard spectacular on the Fisherman’s Beach.

The celebrations began at 10am, with the Albufeira bombeiros and children from a local school marching through the city streets with a brass band, trumpeting the efforts of the voluntary bombeiros. The Albufeira municipal auditorium then played host to the awards ceremony, where various people from across the region were thanked for their support of the city.

Câmara President Desidério Jorge da Silva began the ceremony with a speech, describing the city and its history. He explained how honoured he felt to be Mayor of such a fantastic city and how important the support from all the different freguesias is to the Concelho of Albufeira as a whole. During the presentation of medals, various people were honoured in one of two categories – Medalha de Mérito Municipal or Medalha de Honra do Município – including representatives from the Sheraton Algarve, Boa Vista golf resort, Auto Jardim car rental and the Montechoro Hotel.

The Minister for Cities, Regional Development and Housing, José Luís Arnaut, also gave a brief speech and joined the Civil Governor, José Vitorino, and the President of the Municipal Assembly for Albufeira, Carlos Silva e Sousa, in congratulating and shaking the hands of those honoured.

Happy Birthday from Cliff

Some of Sir Cliff Richard’s fans, the most vociferous of whom he affectionately calls “the crazy people”, had been queueing since 5am. It was more than 17 hours later when Sir Cliff took to the stage on Fisherman’s Beach, introduced by the Mayor of Albufeira, Desidério Silva. The beach steps and cliffs (no pun intended) overlooking the arena were packed with an enthusiastic crowd, eager to hear some classic rock and roll.

For the next 90 minutes, the years melted away as Sir Cliff rolled through some of his biggest hits, including classic oldies, Summer Holiday, Living Doll, Congratulations, Move It, Bachelor Boy and The Young Ones. He reminded his audience that he had been coming to Albufeira for 40 years when the city (as it is now designated) was just a sleepy fishing village.

The 63-year-old superstar looked amazingly fit and agile as he blitzed across the stage, wowing not only the legions of middle-aged spectators, but also the younger generation of converts with his gyrations and limitless energy. Not that he let his audience forget why he was there – to celebrate Albufeira’s birthday – and he even sang a rendition of Happy Birthday in Portuguese at the show’s finale just before a magnificent fireworks display at midnight. “It was a fantastic concert, and a great way for Cliff to celebrate with Albufeira,” one fan commented. “I just wish he’d do it every year!”

Toasting Vida Nova

In fact, Sir Cliff was at another birthday party just one day later. This one was to celebrate the first anniversary of the opening of the winery that produces his Vida Nova wines. When Vida Nova was launched in 2001, the grapes were sent to the Alentejo to be transformed into the phenomenally popular red. But since Nigel Birch, his son Max and Sir Cliff opened the Adega do Cantor winery in Guia, the wines have been produced locally, much to Sir Cliff’s delight. Guests at the party, including TV celebrity Cilla Black, top winemaker David Baverstock, and friends and colleagues, were greeted with glasses of Vida Nova Rosé, a deceptively strong summer tipple that set the tone for the night! A couple of days later, the Peter Pan of Pop went back to England – ‘Cliffmania’, the annual fever that grips the Algarve in August, was over for another year and fans were left toasting their hero with a final glass of Vida Nova.