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    Special EXPO '58

Feria 2004
From 5th till to 8th june
Atomium - Heysel

The Andalusian EuroFeria since 1992
The first “Feria Andaluza”, in 1992, was organized the Peña Arte y Cultura de Andalucía under its President, Mr. Manuel Ramírez. This year the Euroferia has changed its location and is being held for the first time beside the Atomium in 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.

Federico GalloPlanning of the 1994 Feria was coordinated by Mr. Federico 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 Mr. Serge Juwet who, 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 Pivin, Mayor 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.

In 1996, 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.

So it 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 Gallo, President, 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 respected.

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 European countries.

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 (Poland). Other towns have close links with us: Bastogne, Huelva, Almería, Málaga etc.

In 2007, to be involved in the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the European Union, we are holding the EuroFeria in the vicinity of the Atomium. This has been specifically organised with solid teamwork by the committee under its new President, Mr Antonio Wolf with the help of the ex-President (now Honorary President) Mr Fédérico Gallo de Haro.

This year we celebrated the 5Oth anniversary of EXPO '58 of Brussels and the Atomium. The EuroFeria 2008 will be held once again at the foot of the Atomium.

EuroFeria is a cultural and gastronomic festival – and ENTRY IS FREE.

The logistic organization is now in the hands of professionals: installation 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, etc.

Grants made to us by the Region of Bussels-Capital enable us to cover the cost of a certain number of these - but not all.

Let us maintain our momentum in making this event one of the most prestigious cultural and gastronomic festivals in the Brussels region.