Fiestas de Uclés, August 2011
Fiestas come but once a year, and the annual Uclés party coincided with the first weekend of our stay. Although in a town that was new to me, the festival brought a familiar smell of fairground grease, a bouncy castle, and roasted chicken to spice up our experience. Add to this the kaleidoscope of characters that were drawn towards the party lights, and you will begin to get a sense of the ambiance.
After the lights, the band stage was the first hint of change on the plaza’s face. And, “Bumerang?” you ask? Yes, you read that correctly. Forget “Boomerang,” this was the name of one of the bands that played over the four-day fest. As they rocked the sleepy little plaza, flashing display proudly announced Uclés as but one stop on their world tour.
The Uclés camp vets had waxed so poetically about previous years that I was sure we were in for a rockin’ time. What’s more, the Friday of the fiestas just happened to be my birthday! Friday and Saturday night, my cohorts and I set off for the party after midnight. We–and by this I mean not only our group but also the townsfolk, people from the surrounding area, and former camp staffers–stayed out ’til the wee hours of the morning, mingling by the side of the church and then moving toward the music.
I didn’t bring my camera out with me for those late nights filled with tinto de verano, but I did snap these pictures early in the evening, when the light was just fading and local families brought their children to dunk churros in Styrofoam cups of chocolate. Cover your ears for the fireworks and take a stroll around the plaza: