There were an awful lot of confused cows in Alaior this weekend. It was the Fira del Camp – Country Fair is the best translation I can come up with, but that brings visions of checked table clothes, home baking and maypole dancing when that’s not right at all.
Alaior’s country fair is the social highlight of Menorca’s agricultural calendar. It’s when the cows come to town – literally – and they spend a weekend in a huge warehouse while hundreds of visitors step carefully over piles of straw in their inappropriate footwear (for fear of their heel piercing a disguised cow pat) to pat the livestock. There’s a farmers’ market, local wine is poured out for thirsty passers by, toddlers climb on tractors, teenagers set up numerous cake stalls in an attempt to raise funds for their end of year trip, a tourist train takes spectators to and from the centre of town and yesterday, there was even a brass band playing too.
I’m not one for farm fashion parades, so I didn’t hang around for the beef beauty contests (although I couldn’t help but notice a few cows decked in coloured ribbon, so I’m guessing they must have won some prize or another), but I always make a trip to the fair. Apart from returning home with a bag laden with organic oranges, I managed to catch up with friends from all over the island – people who have spent much of the winter in hibernation apparently. The fair means spring has definitely sprung.