Festa des Vermar - Gastro Obscura

Food Festivals

Festa des Vermar

On the island of Mallorca, locals celebrate their viticulture with parades, grape-stomping contests, and a massive fruit fight.

The small town of Binissalem, located on the Spanish island of Mallorca, has been making wine for thousands of years. They celebrate this heritage with the annual Festa des Vermar, a two-week-long September festival that involves everything from fruit fights to grape-stomping contests to a wine-themed parade.

One of the festival’s highlights is its grape battle. Hundreds of participants, mostly local youth and visitors, gather outside the city limits to fling fruit at one another. (The ammunition consists of grapes that wine-makers deemed unsuitable for production.) Rockets announce the start of the battle, and participants race toward massive piles of grapes. The food fight ends when all the produce has been reduced to nothing more than juice and skin.

From there, revelers return to the town square for more wine-related fun. Those who wish to continue competing can participate in a grape-stomping contest, in which they must extract as much juice as possible from two bags of grapes in four minutes. For entertainment, attendees can watch a parade with wine-themed floats, a dazzling display of fireworks (known as “the fire run”) set off from the town square, and the Dance of Giants, in which two oversized puppets are carried through the streets accompanied by a marching band. Local dance groups follow the “dancing” effigies with a traditional performance.

The festivities culminate with a harvest supper in which Fideus de Vermar—a traditional dish made with local red wine, noodles, and mutton—is made and served up for all guests to enjoy.

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