12th June 2017
weekend saw the much-anticipated arrival of the celebrations
of the Fogueres de Sant Joan de Xàbia with the
formal ceremonies during which Belén Fliquete
Pérez and Esther Devesa Martínez were
crowned as Fogueres Queens. For the first time in some
years, there were two ceremonies, the first on Saturday
night for the Quintà 2017 'L'Escampà'
and a second for the younger members of the community
on the following evening.
Saturday night, the 76 members of the Quintà
2017 together with many of their families and friends
outside the Ayuntamiento de Xàbia for the start
of their Fogueres experience. Inside the building, mayor
José Chulvi bid a formal farewell to the 2016
incumbents, Queen Mar Asenjo Ramos with her ladies-in-waiting
Marina Bas Vallés and María Buigues Llidó
and presidents María Piles Henarejos and José
Luis Miralles Arrabales whilst the invited guests from
municipalities across the region enjoyed a modest buffet
in the council chambers and enjoyed the refreshing air
conditioning on a very warm evening.
just after 10.30pm, the Quintà began the short
parade through the historic centre to the special temporary
stage that had been built on the Plaza de la Constitución,
friends and family cheering them from the sidelines
before rushing to claim one of the plastic chairs in
front of the stage; there are always plenty but every
year there are never quite enough. The ceremony, influenced
by painter Joaquin Soralla, featured music from
famed Valencian singer Pep Gimeno Botifarra and traditional
dancing courtesy of the Grup de Danses del Portitxol,
some of whom were painted from head to toe in gold.
ceremony opened with the introduction of José
Gomez, the president of the Fogueres Commission tasked
with organising the celebrations each year, who took
the stage and presented the official Fogueres banner
with a sash for 2017. Joined by councillor Antonio Miragall
(Fiestas), he welcomed the 2016 queen and her ladies-in-waiting
took their seats on the thrones at the top of the stage
before the presidents of Quintà 2016 who
made emotional speeches giving thanks for all the support
they had received during the past 12 months, being replaced
by this year's representatives - Paula Vallés
Moya and Francesc Tent Cholbi - on the stage. And
then the 'quintos' were introduced in pairs to
the audience when the girls were presented with
their sashes before taking their seats on the steps
of the stage.
then it was time for the new queen to be crowned. The
two ladies-in-waiting Marina Tiscar Tortajada and Laura
Caselles Valero took to the stage and received their
sashes. But where was the queen? And then the scenery
began to rotate and Belen Fliquete was revealed sitting
on her throne. She was helped down the steps to be presented
with her sash from mayor José Chulvi before taking
her place again with her ladies-in-waiting by her side,
fireworks exploding from the trees behind them. Outgoing
queen Mar Asenjo gave an emotional speech to bring her
reign to an end, hugging her tearful ladies-in-waiting
before leaving the stage and then a procession of guests
honoured the new court, including representatives from
the town's other major fiestas such as the Moors and
Christians and the Mare de Deu de Loreto. The nigh was
brought to a close with music and dancing until the
early hours provided by the showband Quinta Nota.
following evening it was the turn of the younger members
of the community. As with the older protagonists the
previous year, they gathered outside the Ayuntamiento
de Xàbia and were shepherded into a some semblance
of order by members of the Fogueres Commission ready
for the parade to the Plaza de la Constitución.
The ceremony was conducted by two youthful presenters
who read out the names of the excited kids in pairs
or trios who skipped up the ramp, some giggling, others
pointing at their images being displayed on the big
screens in front of them. The girls were awarded with
their sashes, all the youngsters were given bags of
sweets, some of them impatiently trying to prise them
open whilst they fidgeted on the steps of the stage.
the end of the ceremony, the ladies-in-waiting Arantxa
Ribes Sorribes and María Tur Peña were
presented to the audience before the Infantil Queen
Esther Devesa Martínez nervously took her place
on the throne between them. There was another emotional
speech from the outgoing queen Itziar Bertomeu Cruañes
before she accompanied her ladies-in-waiting Mar Clemente Ferrandiz and Ainara Sapena Giutierrez
from the stage.
then, after the formal speeches from president José
Gomez and mayor José Chulvi, there was a
final surprise for the kids with the arrival of the
PAW Patrol led by Ryder who introduced each of the characters
before leading everyone, including many adults, in a
rousing rendition the catchy tune "Chu Chu Ua",
the kids bouncing around the stage with absolute excitement
as their moment had arrived.
so, with the 2017 main protagonists in place, there
is a short period of rest before the Fogueres de Sant
Joan de Xàbia really come alive this Wednesday
14th June with the official 'pregón', the start
of the main celebrations which culminate ten days later
with the fireworks and burning of the Foguera.
for the full programme of the 2017 Fogueres de Sant
Joan de Xàbia.
more about the Fogueres, arguably the biggest party
of the year, in our special guide here.