Feira-de-Santa-Iria_André Rachadinho
Photo: André Rachadinho

Santa Iria Fair brings “magic of tradition” to Faro

The centuries-old Feira de Santa Iria returns between October 20 and 29 with music, gastronomy and entertainment for all.

This year, the much-anticipated Feira de Santa Iria opens on the Largo de São Francisco in Faro on Santa Iria’s day, Friday, October 20. Counting over 500 years of existence, the Feira de Santa Iria is the largest and oldest fair in the Algarve. It attracts more than 200 thousand visitors annually with its exhibitions, entertainment, taverns, crafts, gastronomy and market stalls selling traditional Algarve products.

The event’s programme, which includes entertainment for all ages, will pay homage to the Saint it is named after during its opening ceremony. On Friday, October 20, the festivities begin at 17h30 at the Igreja da Misericórdia de Faro, where a mass will be celebrated in honour of Santa Iria de Nabância, followed by a procession with the image of the Saint. The statue will initiate its route at the fair’s main entrance and lead participants to the Pavilhão das Entidades, where the local entities will officially open the fair and, at 19h15, researcher and historian Jorge Carrega will share the History of the Santa Iria Fair.

Feira-de-Santa-Iria_Gonçalo Fernandes
Photo: Gonçalo Fernandes

Located on the vast Largo de São Francisco, overlooking the Ria Formosa, the fair transforms the square «into a picturesque setting of a thousand colours and movements, where exhibitions, entertainment, taverns, crafts and a variety of culinary specialities will delight everyone present», says Ambifaro, organiser of the fair in partnership with the Faro City Council.

On top of the numerous stalls, rides and activities, there is daily musical entertainment on the Palco Popular, located in the food court, between 19h30 and 21h00. And to improve and simplify every visitor’s experience, the organisation has improved its signage, added an ATM within the event’s enclosure, and offers free parking at the Pontinha car park during the fair days.

The fair, which, according to some historians, predates the year 1596, continues «to maintain its popular characteristics presenting a great diversity of attractions and reasons of interest», says Ambifaro.

Fair opening hours: Sunday to Thursday from 15h00 to 00h00 and Friday and Saturday from 15h00 to 01h00.