PORTUGAL’S PRESIDENT, Cavaco Silva, opened the 27th edition of the annual FATACIL event in Lagoa last Friday (August 18), and extolled the successful development of the fair over recent years.
Having also presided over the opening ceremony of the event in 1986 and 1991, when he was Prime Minister, this was the third time Cavaco Silva had inaugurated the popular fair, which is held at the Municipal Fairs and Exhibitions Park in Lagoa and showcases companies and institutions from the fields of crafts, tourism, agriculture, commerce and industry of the Algarve.
Fatacil 2006 boasts no less than 800 exhibitors, features around 100 entertainment shows and, according to organisers, as many as 200,000 visitors are expected to attend the event this year, the largest number ever.
Instead of the expected speech, this year, the President of the Republic chose to take a tour of the fair, lasting around an hour-and-a-half, accompanied by his wife and the President of Lagoa Câmara, José Inácio Eduardo.
During his visit, in which he was greeted by representatives from various councils across the region, Cavaco Silva took the opportunity to speak to many of the exhibitors and local business people.
After congratulating Lagoa council on the excellent organisation, the President spoke of the prolific growth of Fatacil: “When you compare Fatacil 2006 to the very first edition, which only comprised of a dozen exhibitors, it really shows, aside from everything else, how much the country has changed in the last 27 years.” He also spoke about the role this event plays for the Algarve: “I must emphasise the importance of this fair, not only for the promotion of tourism, but also for the different sectors, particularly to demonstrate the potential of craftwork in the Algarve.” Highlights still to come this weekend include: a performance by famous Portuguese singer, Marco Paulo, at 10.30pm tonight (Friday, August 25); a special fashion show featuring clothes made using natural cork, a bullfight and a live performance by 70s stars Boney M tomorrow evening (Saturday 26); and a day dedicated to agriculture in the Algarve, featuring an equestrian championship, on the last day of the event (Sunday 27). Closing the fair on a musical note will be the charismatic Cuban group, Orishas, who will be taking to the stage at 10.30pm. Fatacil is open daily from 4pm until 1am. Entrance is priced at four euros and children under 12 enter free.
Photos by Kate Armstrong and Jorge Fonseca