Pamplona, Spain, Jul 6 (EFE).- Spain’s iconic Sanfermines festival kicked off on Thursday in the northern city of Pamplona.
After two years of cancellations due to coronavirus restrictions, thousands of people dressed in traditional white and red Sanfermine clothes gathered in the town hall square for the “txupinazo”, a rocket fired from a balcony in Pamplona that mark the beginning of festivities that will last until July 14.
This year, the person in charge of firing the rocket was former soccer player Juan Carlos Unzué who, together with organizers of the event, sent a message of solidarity to healthcare workers who served the country during Covid-19.
Unzué also sent a message of solidarity to people suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a progressive nervous system disease that the former player currently suffers from.
“Pamploneses, (…) this txupinazo is dedicated to all the health workers and people who have helped us throughout the pandemic and to all those suffering from ALS,” he said.
After being canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, this year’s Sanfermines is highly anticipated, with the Pamplona City Council expecting it to be the best and most awaited in history.
Over 530 events including concerts, open-air dances, exhibitions and children’s activities have been programmed alongside the main event, the running of the bulls, in which hundreds of people sprint down an 875-meter (just over half a mile) course through the streets of Pamplona ahead of a herd of rampaging bulls.
The runs are interspersed with huge meals, copious amounts of wine and beer, parades, musical performances and general revelry spread out across the city, where the 200,000-strong population of Pamplona is joined by hundreds of thousands of visitors who flock there every year from across the globe.EFE