The Medieval Festival in Ribeira Grande on Sao Miguel Island

7d31a-fotolia_13344797_xsThe 9 Atlantic islands known as the Azores, are recognized for their countless annual “Festas” throughout the cities, towns, and villages in the region, usually celebrating a patron saint or religious celebration. On the island of Sao Miguel; which is the agricultural capital of the Azores is home to the county of Ribeira Grande; which is known for their breathtaking pastoral landscapes and rugged coastlines. It is here that one of the oldest settlements in the Azores still exists with countless natural wonders, vibrant small cities and colorful seaside villages that have made this region the breadbasket of the Azores for over 4 centuries. The city of Ribeira Grande is located in the county that bears the same name and is the 2nd most populated region on the island. It was here that the majority of the old European nobility originally settled in the 15th and 16th century, building their manor homes and estates throughout the region, many still in use today.Ribeira Grande Town Gardens On Sao Miguel Island, AzoresSince the beginning of the 21st century, a new festival has been introduced in the city square of Ribeira Grande and has seen excellent results in terms of tourism and attendance every year since it began in 2006. The annual festival in Ribeira Grande is fast becoming one of the top cultural events to attend in the region during the summer. The city center and town square are transformed into a renaissance era, where everywhere you look you feel like you have been transformed into the 15th century. The hundreds of elaborately decorated, handmade costumes are only one of the many unique features of this 3-day long festival. There are numerous small taverns with food and beverages in medieval settings with quaint terraces overlooking the city square perfect to enjoy a snack with a view. This is a perfect family event for kids of any age, as there are so many unique things to do from face painting to pony rides. The government of Ribeira Grande has spent a lot of time and energy over the past decade perfecting this event down to every last detail. Here you can admire trapeze artists, jugglers and court jesters alongside pheasants, rabbits, ducks, turkeys, donkeys, horses and even peacocks as they adorn the town square. There are many local vendors selling sweet treats and snacks as well as souvenirs and of course the famous Portuguese hot dogs which are by far the best hot dogs you will ever have at a fair and are quite a handful. If you happen to be visiting the island of Sao Miguel at the time of the annual festival in August then I would recommend making a point of making a trip to spend the day or evening enjoying this unique event and experience the Azores as it was over 400 years ago. PalioA festival rare in today’s hectic and busy lifestyle, here the local government of Ribeira Grande invested initially 250,000 Euros to create this event from scratch. The over 500 hundred, 15th century costumes, hundreds of medieval props and decorations were a large investment for the county. Many taxpayers were initially turned off by such a large investment into such a short festival that is only held once a year. However, since 2006 the financial returns and attendance levels have only reinforced the government’s position that investment at local levels can have beneficial returns for business and residents, with annual attendance levels increasing substantially since the festival began.51e86-fotolia_91443850_xsThe medieval festival would not be complete without the required ancient duels between knights, and here in Ribeira Grande, this is no exception. The elaborately dressed armored knights perform a royal show for the spectators with a medieval inspired meal provided with the purchase of a ticket. This is like watching medieval times in all of its glory while enjoying the chivalry and all the tradition that comes with this colorful event. Every year this has been a sold out event so it is recommended if you plan on attending to make sure you get your tickets when you first arrive at the fair. This is a fun event filled with dozens of live bands from all over the world, bringing together the culture, history, and fun from the 15th century to our modern-day 21st-century lives.

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Event Details: Location- Ribeira Grande Town Square and Paradise Garden in front of City Hall.

Time: The beginning of August lasting 3 days with each day having various activities

Tickets available for purchase for Meal and Show from CMRG.

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