Thursday, August 25, 2011

Festa de Gracia

Every year the neighborhood of Gracia competes in a street decorating contest that has become incredibly popular in the city for locals and tourists alike.  This is a time where although we do not have friends in our neighborhood, I can see how you can have a close knit group despite the fact that you are in the city.  That you do not need to be in the suburbs of Julie-ville (though I miss Julie-ville) in order to be a part of a community such as this.  And as a note to my friends in Julie-ville, I think we should have a contest like this when we come back - you know Bernardo vs Buena Vista vs Cullen vs Maureen and then Nora... it would be hysterically funny I'm sure and everyone would have a great time!

So anyways, last year I missed the festival as the kids and I were in the States but Josh was here and took pictures and I was amazed at the creations in these little side streets.  Decorated to the hilt you can tell that this wasn't a weekend project for these people but had probably taken months to not only plan but to prepare.  When we arrived from Greece on Sunday, it was the last day of the festival and so Aidan and I took a schmooze around to see if the streets would still be decorated or if the disassembling had in fact begun. 

We were thrilled to see that no, nothing had been taken down yet (and it turned out that it did not end til 11PM on Sunday night so we had plenty of time) and that the streets were amazing!  Not every street was decorated but the ones that were stood out from everything around it.  All of the streets we saw had tons of lights (that were not lit during the day obviously) that I'm sure make each street look amazing at night - next year we will have to make sure we see them all lit up!

Our first stop... the Jungle Book.  This has always been one of Aidan's favorite movies and so it was a great first street for him to see as he became incredibly excited about the prospect of finding all his favorite characters. 

Each street had a completely different theme and each had been rated by a judging committee.  It was my understanding that the Jungle Book came in 7th... that amazed me because I thought this display was unreal!!  However, I could also be totally wrong on what place they came in too. 

The next one we stopped by seemed to have to do with coffee though I didn't 100% get the display.  Yes there was a giant coffee carafe and then there were bags of coffee hanging.  I think they also had coffee trees/leaves but not really sure what the actual theme was other than coffee.  Not one of my favorites. 

The next street we came upon felt very whimsical and light.  It was chinese lanterns decorated with flowers.  There were white tubes that represented trees and it was just all very pretty.  Not super exciting and there wasn't any paper mache that took someone hours to create and decorate but it was still very cool to see.  We walked pretty quickly thru this one. 

At one point as we were walking we heard live music coming from one of the placas.  We turned the corner and it was decorated in a rock n roll theme.  As with all the streets, there was a bar set up so that people walking thru could purchase water or beer and in this case also some snacks.  Aidan was more fascinated by the squirt guns that many people were using and wanted me to get him one... only I couldn't find out where they were being sold.  We bought a bottle of water for the road and continued on our way.

The next street was another of Aidan's favorites - SpongeBob!!  The whole street looked like Bikini Bottom down to the jellyfish floating above us.  Aidan searched for all of his favorite characters and other than Patrick (whom we think for some reason was above the sea - you'll see the pic) we found them all.  Sadly someone had stolen Squidwards head!!

Our final street that we saw decorated before calling a day was my favorite.  From 2 blocks away, I could see the pirate ship looming ahead, 3 stories tall.  Remember those simple Chinese lanterns?  Yeah, those are nothing compared to a street that built their own 3 story pirate ship!!  Aidan's favorite part on this street?  The mermaid with crabs on her boobies... ahh the joys of having boys right?

We walked around for about an hour checking out different streets and their amazing displays.  By far we did not see them all but we had been up since 4AM, tired, hot and hungry.  After an hour we were near our favorite crepe place, Creps A Barcelona, and decided to stop in for a snack before heading back home. 

As a side note, I was walking around Gracia yesterday, Wednesday, and there was not one single piece of evidence that these streets had ever been decorated.  Clean as a whistle!  Amazing!  Til next year!


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