A couple of years ago, we visited Alicante. Aside from being shocked that almost two years had passed, we found Alicante just as charming as always. As I mentioned in my previous post, we avoided the last week of the festival in Valencia. After a short train ride, we were back in the center of Alicante. A few minutes later, we were in our hotel room.

Since we had six days to enjoy the town, we had the luxury to explore some museums and enjoy unique and local sights that only Alicante can provide.

I was aware that Alicante, like many cities and pueblos in Spain, has its own flavor and unique festivals to celebrate the seasons. In Valencia, the most prominent one is Las Fallas, but in Alicante, it’s La Fiesta de San Juan, or the celebration of St. John. Unlike its Valencian counterpart, the event only lasts for four days, but there are many similarities.

Since Alicante is a popular destination in the Valencian region, you’ll often hear Valenciano spoken. And like Las Fallas, many of the festival components are specifically referenced and named in Valenciano, not Castellano. I’m letting you know that because there are some potentially confusing alternations to festival events:

  • Hogueras (Spanish) = Fogueres (Valenciano)
  • San Juan = Sant Joan
  • La Belleza del Fuego = Belleses del foc – this refers to the women who are chosen to represent the festival annually. Translation: Beauties of the Fire

For four days, fogueres are erected in town squares and in front of the city hall, and all will be burned on the night of June 24. There are somewhere between 70 and 90 displays every year, constructed and promoted by the “foguerils” groups. These are social groups that promote their neighborhood fogueres through fund raising activities, social events, and different party events. In reality, the model of the Valencia Fallas is imitated with a great deal of gusto.

That also means there is judging. Nine jury members review each of the fogueres throughout the city. Three members come from foguerils, one is a former belle del foc, and the remaining come from the association governing the event. Of course it’s a big honor to be part of the judging committee, but I imagine it’s a lot of work, too.

There are fireworks. There’s music. There’s a whole lot of partying. And there’s community.

That brings us to our exploration of Alicante. There is a Fogueres museum in the city, and it’s definitely worth a visit. As you can see from the pictures below, there are a lot of similarities between the fallas and the fogueres. There were many more religious themes present in Alicante, as well as tributes to the founders and patrons of the festival.

In one section of the museum, there is a collection of models of the winning Fogueres. Intricate, colorful, comedic, and idyllic themes are all present in the displays. You’ll see quite a few similarities to the fallas, as the artists may be the same ones working in Valencia. I thoroughly enjoyed the museum, and it will take somewhere between 30 minutes and 1 hour to experience.

Plaque commemorating the first Fogueres competition

Plaque commemorating the first Fogueres competition

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

Banner of a Fogueres guild

Banner of a Fogueres guild

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

The "Belleses del Foc" - the women named the annual representative of the tradition

The "Belleses del Foc" - the women named the annual representative of the tradition

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

"Foguet" - the mascot of Nit de Foc

"Foguet" - the mascot of Nit de Foc

"Foguet" - the mascot of Nit de Foc

"Foguet" - the mascot of Nit de Foc

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

Exhibit in the Museum of Fogueres, Alicante, Spain

"Gigantes" or "Gegants" - large puppets with people inside used in parades

"Gigantes" or "Gegants" - large puppets with people inside used in parades

"Gigantes" or "Gegants" - large puppets with people inside used in parades

"Gigantes" or "Gegants" - large puppets with people inside used in parades