La Festa de Gràcia. (August 2012)

Almost every year since the early eighteen hundreds, La Festa de Gràcia has been held in the old district of Gràcia in Barcelona.

This year is the 196th anniversary of the festival.

It starts on August 15, the Assumption Day public holiday, and runs for seven days.

It’s the height of summer in Barcelona, so it’s hot and the streets are full of tourists.

This year 18 streets and plazas will take part in the festival. Each one is decorated in a theme and prizes are given for various categories.

Not everyone in the streets help, in fact there is some resistance to the disruption caused by scaffolding, painting and the crowds of extra people flooding into the narrow streets.

Life has to go on, so the residents work around the mayhem by squeezing past the weird and wonderful creations that are now dominating their normally quiet environment .

Hayden has spent four years living in Gràcia, three of them in Carrer Progress, one of the participating streets.

This is the third year that he has been part of the dedicated group who make it all happen.

As we were in Barcelona, staying with Hayden, we volunteered to put in a few hours work on the last night before the festival opened.

When we arrived, at around midday, I wondered how it would all come together, there appeared to be more to do than had been done.

When we left at 8:30 that evening, it still seemed an insurmountable task to get everything completed for a 2pm start the next day.

Hayden, like a number of other volunteers, didn’t get to bed that night.

Carrer Progrés had chosen Star Wars as their theme and images from the George Lucas classic were everywhere.

Apart from Darth Vader there were Jawas, Chewbacca, Jabba the Hutt, C-3PO, Yoda, several Storm Troopers and the Mos Eisley Cantina band.

All were very popular backdrops for the hundreds of people who personalised their visit with a snap in front of their favorite character.

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