Always Held In November
The Fair is held at the beginning of November over a 10-day period. The dates must include the most important day, 11th November, which is the Dia de São Martinho (the Feast of Saint Martin). On this day the people eat roasted chestnuts and drink new wine for Magusto – Magusto is the celebration of tasting the news wines or Agua Pe and roasting chestnuts.
Although most participants in the Fair dress up, on this most important day everyone dresses in the finest traditional Portuguese riding attire. A celebration is held outside the stunning 16 th century church of Nossa Senhora da Conceição.
With a unique, almost eccentric atmosphere I’ve not encountered anywhere else in the world, during the festival the whole town becomes a paradise for all who love the Lusitano horse, Portuguese equestrian traditions and to party. It is attracting increasing numbers of visitors every year, both from within Portugal and worldwide.
The town transforms from its usual sleepy state to a frenzy of horses, carriages and people. From late afternoon until the early hours of the morning, the streets are packed with people and horses on promenade. The air is filled with the smoke from roasting chestnuts and barbecue beef and pork, and the sound of Portuguese Fado music, laughter and the clopping of horses hooves on the roads.
You will find all your senses are delighted with the variety on offer.
Beside chestnuts and barque, there’s a wide array of traditional food stalls and restaurants offering rich regional cuisine. Bars, cafes, and discos stay open all the night. For the shopper, it’s a tempting extravaganza of wonderful stalls offering everything from traditional tack, equestrian art, handcrafts, and clothing to quirky battery powered horse toys for children, and even antiques.