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Fêtes Saint Vincent, Collioure 2018

14th August 2018 - 18th August 2018

by Ellen Turner Hall

Everyone is welcome to Collioure to celebrate Saint Vincent with music, dancing, processions on land and sea and the traditional fireworks display on the night of 16 August. And this year’s Saint Vincent festival has extended its offerings to include street performers of all kinds: a magician/hairdresser, jugglers, mimes, a crazy cook, Argentinian acrobats and giant illuminated marionettes.

The emphasis is on music and fun, from Barry Blend’s colourful poster to the numerous attractions starting on Tuesday 14 August at 19h30 with the official opening to which the public is invited to dress in white. The evening continues with an aperitif offered by the chamber of commerce followed by music in the centre of the village and on the port.

On Wednesday the sea is the stage for an Optimist regatta in the morning and in the afternoon a demonstration of Llegats de rem (Catalan rowing boats) followed by a joyous contest of “improbable floating objects”. The celebrations continue with music into the night.

For Thursday the 16th the focus is on “tradition”. A boat carrying the relics of Saint Vincent – the patron saint of fishermen – arrives on the beach and then will be carried through the streets of the village. Don’t miss the Sardanes (Catalan circle dances) accompanied by the Cobla playing instruments which date back to the middle ages. The day ends with a dazzling firework display at 22h00.

The festival moves on to the Faubourg on Thursday and finishes on Friday with a procession to the hermitage of Notre Dame de Consolation.

The full programme – complete with train schedules and security details – is available from the office of tourism or at www.collioure.fr.

This festival was first celebrated in the year 1701, on the day when the relics of St. Vincent, the patron saint of Collioure, were returned to the village. Numerous festive events have been preserved including, for example, games and competitions on the water, such as the ‘ronde du clocher’ (swimming around the port and bay) and various nautical games.

Demonstrations of Catalan fishing boats, dances for everyone, street parades, concerts and live concerts and music. The Catalan Procession on the Sea is a highlight of the celebrations and the streets are filled with bodegas, music, dancing and all manner of entertainment as well as a grand firework display.

And the best thing of all for those of us who are anti corrida……is that  the Collioure corrida is no more! Enjoy the festivities. No bulls will be slaughtered nearby.