If you're looking holidays in Benissa, don't miss out, come along and soak up the Alicante party atmosphere typical of the summer months.
The festival usually begins two days earlier with a communal dinner in the area around the shrine of the same name, the nerve centre of these festivities. The following morning involves the traditional "plantà del pí" (planting a large pine tree in the town square) and in the afternoon there is a floral offering to the patron saint. The evening sees a street party with musical accompaniment; the traditional dances are great fun, simple and full of local colour.
But the most important day of the celebrations is 25 July. A solemn mass is held and a traditional procession in honour of the saint around the shrine. The entire town participates enthusiastically in both. Finally, just before lunch one of the most popular parts of the festival takes place; the cock races, great fun and really exciting to watch.
In the afternoon the townsfolk take to the streets to join the jolly street entertainers, something everybody can join in. The night draws to a close with more dancing and fun and some beautiful fireworks. The days after Sant Jaume's Day sees a paella contest, more dancing, running of the bulls and open air food.
The shrine is Benimarco's main architectural landmark. The front gable of this thick-walled building with its stone buttresses houses a sundial dating from the 18th century. The interior is very simple, but charming. On the altar stands a carving of Sant Jaume on horseback with famous sword held high.
If you come to the Benissa festival, don't forget to visit this charming village and soak up the atmosphere of the interior of Alicante province, still very rural and traditional.