The Feria del Caballos
The Feria del Caballos is one of the biggest Ferias in Andalucia, and combines the three major claims to fame of Jerez - namely sherry, horses and flamenco. It is held in the second week of May.
The showground is in Parque Gonzalez Hontori on Avenida Alcalde Alvaro Domeque to the north east of the city centre, and is about 2km from the centre. The ground is huge and for the Feria is laid out in a grid of "streets" lined with over 250 canestas (or stands). The main "streets" form a cross through the middle of the showground, and it is here that the daily parade of horses, riders and carriages takes place, from around 1pm or so until 7:30pm. After the parade finishes (well, in fact a long time before it finishes !) the party begins, for the canestas are actually bars !
There is a very serious side to the Feria though. There are daily competitions held in the adjoining arena, and riders, horses and carriages from all over Andalucia take part. After all, this is what the Feria is all about (despite all the partying in the park !)
For more pictures please have a look at my travelogues - just a selection from the many I took over two days !
Only if you are desperate.
A large restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating.
Advertise on a large board outdoors Menu Del Dia, but the choice is non-existent. There is one meal available only, one desert only, water or a cup of soft drink. If you want coffee then you can have that in place of the desert.
The food was terrible. The main dish was a paella that was tasteless, salty and too oily to eat. The desert was a very watery dish of custard.
The service was worse. A great deal of time and attention is given to regulars customers drinking wine, but almost no service at all to others - perhaps because I was a woman eating solo?
I had to get up from the table after waiting some 20 minutes just to get a menu. Meanwhile I saw the same 2 waiters serving other people, chatting with them, returning to those other tables and so on. I was ignored till I demanded service. Didn't find the food tasty at all. Even the coffee, unusual for Spain, was too weak.
We visited the bodega of GONZALEZ BYASS, more known as TIO PEPE. A guided tour how they make sherry and brandy is very interesting and you pay 8 euro per adult (3,50 euro for child). The tour ends with a degustation of a dry and a sweet sherry and of course the possibility to buy sherry or other souvenirs.
All other bodegas are also located in this area (Sandeman, Domecq, etc)
Horse Fiesta May
One of the most popular fiestas is held in May for a whole week. It is the Horse Feria (La Feria del Caballo). You will be lucky to find any accommodation in Jerez unless booked well in advance.
parade through the city of horse and carriages
taming and riding competitions
trophys for the best horses
largest funfair in Spain
promenading around the Fairgrounds in your best outfit
casetas selling food and drink
The festival ground covers more than 52,000 square metres, and houses 216 casitas. This fiesta has been in existence since 1284 in the times of Alfonso X. There will be about are 200 casetas (literally 'little houses'), structures that range from small tents to large pavilions, from plain to elaborate, serving up food that ranges from the simplest tapas to full-scale restaurant fare, and drinks (lots of sherry of course). Many of the cassitas are owned by the big bodegas.
Gonzales Byass Bodega, odds and ends
The Gonzales Byass Bodega has even more than "just" the sherry, they also have ADVERTISING...even the weathervane carries the logo of the Tio Pepe brandname.
I enjoyed the old wine bottles that they have preserved, looks like an old apartment I used to rent in Chicago...
The two old bicycles in the last photos were on display, but have NO idea why, there was no explantion plaque and our guide did not even pause here.....so your guess is as good as mine.