The Albacete Fair is one of the most popular celebrations in Spain, held every year from September 7 to 17. It takes place in and around this remarkable structure near the center of the city, which is officially called the Recinto Ferial (Fairgrounds), but is known locally as either “the pan” or “the circles.”
One look at the structure and it’s clear why these nicknames have stuck. The unique architectural work is in the shape of a pan, made of a series of concentric circles with a protruding panhandle. The local government built this magnificent gem in 1783 so that the Albacete Fair could be held within the city borders. The building has been continuously improved right up to the present day, including a major renovation of the entrance to commemorate the 300th anniversary. At the center of the concentric circles is one of the later additions, a bandstand known as the Templete de la Feria, which is an impressive structure in its own right, built in the modernist style.
Dating back at least to the 17th century (and possible much earlier), the city fair is still a huge draw today; it’s estimated that the population of Albacete increases fourfold during the event each year. The festivities start with one of the best firework displays you will see at any Spanish fiesta. Nowadays, the larger attractions are located outside the old fairground building, in the land between the Recinto and the town’s bull ring. But inside is where the locals celebrate, with lots of live music in addition to the many stalls, bars, and sideshows. It’s essentially a 10-day party in a historic setting, but with a serious side, as there are also plenty of exhibitions and cultural events to explore.
Know Before You Go
There is a nearby underground parking lot. Street parking is available but not when the fair is on. The September fair is not the only event held here. In May 2019 there was a large cultural event including a dance festival, and in June there was an important dog show.