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Xàbia comes together to celebrate the start of the festivities of Sant Joan

Monday 12th June 2017

JAVEA NEWS | Fogueres 2017

The 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.

On 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.

At 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.

The 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.

And 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.

The 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.

At 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.

And 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.

And 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.

Click here for the full programme of the 2017 Fogueres de Sant Joan de Xàbia.

Discover more about the Fogueres, arguably the biggest party of the year, in our special guide here.


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