Spain

Barcelona’s Best Summer Party – Festa Major de Gràcia

This past week, Barcelona held one of my very favorite events in the city – the Festa Major de Gràcia! For one week in August, the neighborhood of Gràcia gets turned into a 24-hour party-happy fantasyland. 

Barcelona-Festa-Major-de-Gràcia-2012

Around the clock, there are concerts, neighborhood meals, contests, games, and performances. The whole neighborhood pulls together to put on a fabulous party.

Each participating street picks a theme and hand makes decorations. Here are the top five streets of this year’s festival, as voted for in a public contest.

#5. Carrer del Progrés – Star Wars

This one was a lot of fun, though not an especially original idea. The characters were all life-size statues and were amazingly well done.

Barcelona-Festa-Major-de-Gracia-2012-Star-Wars

Plus, it was fun to see the Stormtroopers playing DJ at night.

Barcelona-Festa-Major-de-Gracia-2012-Star-Wars-night

#4. Plaça de la Vila de Gràcia – big top circus

This pretty plaza was taken over by the big top! There were lions, elephants, jugglers, acrobats, clowns, and more.

Barcelona-Festa-Major-de-Gracia-2012-Vila-de-Gracia-circus

This was also home to some of the biggest concert stages during the evening and the castellers (though I missed them this year!), so it was packed for the whole festival.

Barcelona-Festa-Major-de-Gracia-2012-Vila-de-Gracia-circus

#3. Carrer de la Fraternitat de Baix – a music theme

The third place street was a little weird – you walked under giant dancers’ skirts and the street was decorated with musical objects.

Barcelona-Festa-Major-de-Gracia-2012

This wasn’t my favorite street, and I don’t get why it got third place. Still, it was a creative idea and the result was pretty cool.

Barcelona-Festa-Major-de-Gracia-2012

#2. Carrer de Mozart – a bizarre circus

This street gets major points for originality. The street goes off the Plaça de la Vila de Gràcia, and it kept in line with the circus theme.

Barcelona-Festa-Major-de-Gracia-2012-Mozart-circus

But this was more like a freak show type circus, from the giant bearded lady to the mysterious oracle to these guys getting shot out of cannons.

Barcelona-Festa-Major-de-Gracia-2012-Mozart-circus

#1. Carrer de Verdi – Wild West

This was by far the most elaborate street, and they let you know right from the start.  At the entrance, you walked through a 20-foot wooden fence decorated with saloon-themed signs, giant eagles, clouds, cactuses, and more.

5_Barcelona-Festa-Major-de-Gracia-2012-Verdi-Wild-West

Once you got inside the “saloon”, there were velvet drapes and bronze chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. The stage was decorated with Americana-style banners (with a notice reminding guests “Don’t shoot at the pianist”), and they sold American food (hot dogs, nachos, and chili con carne).

3_Barcelona-Festa-Major-de-Gràcia-2011-Verdi-Wild-West

There were also fun details, like the Western objects on the walls and the “Es busca” posters (Wanted in Catalan). They even managed to get some dancing mechanical legs on the walls in long petticoats!

3_Barcelona-Festa-Major-de-Gracia-2012-Verdi-Wild-West

Their feet were made out of forks! So creative.

And when you walked out the other end, you went through a series of Native American tepees, complete with more eagles and clouds. But these clouds had a special surprise – they “rained” water as you walked under them!

The Festa Major de Gràcia is definitely one of my favorite things that goes on in Barcelona, and this year was no exception. So if you’re ever in BCN around the 15th of August, you have to check out this amazing street festival! 

Check out the slideshow below for even more photos of this great party. And here’s what went on at last year’s party. Enjoy!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Besos!

-Jess

19 thoughts on “Barcelona’s Best Summer Party – Festa Major de Gràcia

  1. This looks AWESOME! I must sometime go to Barcelona to see this. I might be going back to the States next Sunday but I already can’t wait to come back and visit Spain someday! So I’ll be living vicariously through your blog and learn cool stuff about Barcelona like this festival! 😀

  2. Great piece. Never did get round to seeing the streets by night, so I’m glad to see you got a few good shots. As a resident of Gràcia, I have to say I’m especially proud of all the decorations this year. My favorites were probably the 80’s retro-themed streets, but Verdi was fantastic as always.

  3. Barcelona 2013, anyone?

    I have to echo the previous comments and say that this street fest looks amazing. My main thought, after “party in Barcelona, woo!” was–“oh the photo ops!”

  4. Jesica, coming to Barcelona aug 15 or 16. WHich day do you think will be better as far as the festa goes? I’m thinking maybe aug 15, with opening parade? ALso, we fly out aug 17, making 16 tougher. thanks so much.

    • You know, it’s such a good party that I don’t think the day matters that much! I don’t remember one day being markedly better than another in the two years I’ve gone. But the opening parade might be quite cool to see. It’s fun during the day too.

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