|The first “Feria
1992, was organized the Peña Arte y
Cultura de Andalucía under
its President, Mr. Manuel Ramírez.
As in previous years, apart from 1993, this year’s “Feria” will
take place in Elisabeth Park, near the Koekelberg Basilica, Brussels.
The 1992 “Feria”,
organized by and for the Andalusian community of Belgium, was a great success
and we all hold fond memories of it in our hearts. The future of
this event, however, was put in jeopardy by the refusal of the authorities
to allow us to use Elisabeth Park thereafter because of a certain amount
of damage done in the park that year.
The 1993 Feria was organized by a
new team from the Peña and
was held in Laeken. The success of this was marred by over-expenditure
which put the financial situation of the Association in peril.
of the 1994 Feria was coordinated by
Gallo (photo), the new President of the Peña who,
after renegociating terms with the Brussels Institute for the Environment, (IBGE),
succeeded in arranging for us to return to Elisabeth Park. We have
to thank the IBGE, and in particular
in spite of the possible risks involved, had confidence in us – correctly
assessing the potential of our enterprise and its inevitable future expansion.
We were privileged to have the support of Mr. Jacques
of Koekelberg, and the Municipal Authorities who gave us the hope and
courage to continue with our project.
Atrocious weather conditions in 1995 were
chiefly responsible for the curtailment of our activities that year.
anxious to repulse the demons who had beset us in the previous year –threatening
the very existence of our Feria with the fear that it would disappear
for ever– we took our courage in both hands. We had obtained
IBGE authorization to hold the event again in Elisabeth Park. Our
Feria really took off: a great success with 10.000 people attending,
radiant sunshine, euphoric ambiance and the prospect of a shining future
before us. 1996 was also the year we had the good fortune to meet Mr. Jean
Pierre De Keyn (photo) who,
impressed by the success of our Feria, had it in mind to establish in the
Commune of Koekelberg a similar festival, oriented towards Europe.
was that, in 1997, with the participation
of representatives of other nationalities and the support of the Municipal
Authorities, the brain-child of Mr. Jean
Pierre De Keyn became
a reality. Euro+Feria
= EuroFeria. With perseverance in the spirit of innovation
the number of visitors increased to 20,000. This marked the birth
of EuroFeria as we know it. The measure of the enormous
success of our enterprise for the future can be gauged from the impressive
increase in the number of visitors: more than 100.000 in 1999 and
more than 160,000 in 2004 – a spectacular success
brought about by hard work and enthusiasm for popular culture. The
support of Mr. Philippe Pivin, present Mayor of Koekelberg,
and his Municipal Authorities continues to be considerable. In addition,
the financial contribution made to us by the Region of Brussels Council
enables us to expand our cultural activities.
In 2001 EuroFeria achieved the status
of ASBL (non-profit making Association) with Mr. Frederico
and Mr. Jean Pierre De Keyn, Co-president,
and a committee comprising members of the Peña
de Arte y Cultura de Andalucia and
the Municipal Authorities of Koekelberg. They ensure that the spirit
of the rules laid down for the running of such organizations is scrupulously
It is easy to see that the more recent EuroFerias are
not limited either to orthodox Andalusian or to Spanish tradition - though
these remain predominant. Participation is freely open to the people
of Brussels, with its cosmopolitan population, and to those from other
The collaboration of other towns twinned with Koekelberg
bring us the poetic beauty of Andalusia via Sanlúcar de Barrameda
(Cadiz), the warmth of the Mediterranean with the town of Hyères
(Var) and the fresh breeze from the East thanks to the city of Kolobrzeg
towns have close links with us: Bastogne, Huelva, Almería, Málaga
EuroFeria is a cultural and gastronomic
festival – and
ENTRY IS FREE.
The logistic organization
is now in the hands of professionals: erection of tents and marquees,
electricity, toilets, cleaning etc. Only the organization of events, and
the secretariat, are still, to a great extent, voluntary.
In the past many
of these services were provided free of charge - but this has changed.
We now have to pay the bill for the services of the Red Cross, the city
cleaning department and the fire-brigade. Fortunately,
the IBGE does not make a charge for the use of the Park. This and
the financial support we receive from the Brussels-Capital Authorities
and the inestimable logistic support from the Commune of Koekelberg, enable
us to balance our budget.
Let us maintain our momentum in making this event
one of the most prestigious cultural and gastronomic festivals in the