The “Real” Kind of Street Festivals in Salamanca

Emily Nichols is a student at Arizona State University and an ISA Featured Blogger. Emily is currently studying abroad with ISA in Salamanca, Spain.

Where I’m from in Phoenix, AZ, there are lots of attempts at cultural festivals. And don’t get me wrong—Phoenix does a great job in its attempts…but even the best, most culturally stimulating festival in Phoenix has absolutely no competition against Salamanca this week (Sep. 5 to 15). My ISA group is so lucky that we are here in Salamanca during a really exciting week!

In honor of “Santa Maria de la Vega,” all of Salamanca has come out to celebrate. By come out to celebrate, I mean that literally. Restaurants come out of their brick and mortar locations and set up “casetas” on the street. From these casetas, they sell their signature Spanish snacks (formally known as tapas or pinchos). It’s like the U.S. food truck scene, except slightly less mobile.

Casetas out on the streets
Casetas out on the streets

The 2 Euro Especial
There are an overwhelming amount of choices here in Salamanca. Food, clothes, activities—everything. For this week, these temporary restaurant stakeouts have great deals where you can get “pincho de la feria”: snacks and a drink for just 2 euro! I tasted what felt like a billion. Among the most memorable were:

  • tosta templada de queso de cabra con pimientos carmelizados” = goat cheese and caramelized red bell peppers
  • brocheta de pollo con salsa de mostaza, miel y yogur” = a mini ciabatta sandwich with savory chicken and honey mustard yogurt sauce
’Pincho de la Feria ’ : Goat Cheese and Fruit Marmalade
’Pincho de la Feria ’ : Goat Cheese and Fruit Marmalade

Flowers and Free Concerts
On the first official day, there was a beautiful parade in honor of Santa Maria de la Vega with traditional “Traje de Campesina” outfits with long skirts and gold adornments, and some of the most beautiful bouquets of flowers in existence.

A parade to bring flowers to the front of the Cathedral
A parade to bring flowers to the front of the Cathedral

Additionally, there were fireworks by the Rio Tormes and a free concert in the Plaza Mayor.  Don’t mistake my listing these things last to mean that they weren’t important—because they were—they just served as a final destination between caseta hopping.

Maybe when I return to Phoenix, I’ll suggest that all of our restaurants come “out to play” for a week and offer cheap specialty snacks. I think that would be a real hit, and maybe one day they’d host a week of festivals and fairs in honor of me.

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