The Major Festival of Gràcia celebrates 200 years with more streets decorated and a great “tent”
The celebrations of the district of Gràcia celebrate this year a special edition to celebrate the bicentennial of its birth. The most popular festival of the summer of Barcelona will kick off on Monday 14 August – in full bridge – with the proclamation, by the actors Roger de Gràcia and Agnès Busquets, and will continue until the following Monday, 21 .
The 2017 program will have more spaces participating: up to 22 streets and squares will compete in the expected decoration contest, two more than the previous year for the incorporation of the streets Maspons and Jesus. 39 portals and balconies will also be decked out, which also have a competition of their own.
In addition, on the occasion of the anniversary, the party recovers two traditions. On the one hand, Gran de Gràcia street will host activities after almost 50 years outside the program, will be dressed with two access portals and will be cut to traffic on 15, 19 and 20 August. On the other hand, the street Francisco Giner will remember the origin of the party decorating the street with the traditional technique of plant enramades. From this street it is the oldest photograph that is conserved of the parties, dated in 1894.
In total the party will host 990 activities, of which the vast majority (750) will be daytime and the rest (285) will take place at night. The workdays and vigils of laborable acts will end at noon at two o’clock, while Fridays and Saturdays may be extended until 3:30 p.m. Councilor Eloi Badia and the president of the Fundació Festa Major de Gràcia, Carla Carbonell, presented the program on Tuesday, both of which highlighted the “growth and rejuvenation” of the party.
The elaboration of the program in a participatory way began last May, with the premiere of a symbolic ‘viejo’ or traditional tent of a major festival in the gardens of Salvador Espriu (Jardinets de Gràcia). The other two entrance doors to the neighborhood will be in Gran de Gràcia, located at the confluence with the street Jesús and opposite the Fontana metro (L3) and made by students of the Massana School and the European Institute of Disseny. Both will be connected by a set of banners with drawings of children from the neighborhood schools.
Another novelty will be that the facade of the district, which was the town hall before its annexation to Barcelona, will be decorated again for the party thanks to a mural made by the studio Reskate Arts & Crafts and curated by the entity Diffusor. The creation, with the blue colors and lilies of the coat of arms of Gràcia, honors the decoration of the streets, the engraving of the façades and festive aucas. It will be inaugurated with the proclamation and can be seen throughout the week.
The evolution of the party in these 200 years can be observed in detail with the exhibitions of historical photographs in the tent of the bicentennial and in the streets through QR codes scannable by mobile phones. Carbonell has also highlighted other special activities of the bicentennial, such as the opening bell ringing and the repetition of the concerts of the ‘Sirex’ and the ‘Mustang’ of the Major Festival of 1964 “to recover the spirit of the 60s and 70s” .
More cleaning and sustainability
Badia has announced that it has doubled the cleaning staff, there will be more public baths and it has agreed with the businesses of the streets to empty the wastebaskets to avoid the accumulation of waste in a party that is expected “large influx.” This year, visually impaired attendees will be able to access the program of events thanks to the audiodescriptions of the mobile application ‘Wheris’. The single-use plastic cups will be replaced by more than 150,000 reusable cups at one euro, which will make Gràcia the first major party in the Catalan capital to adopt this sustainable system.