“ALMOST normal” is how next month’s Fallas celebrations have been described following a meeting between the city council, police chiefs, the health department and representatives of the Fallas associations to organise logistics of the festival.
While this year’s celebrations will not be exactly the same as those pre-pandemic, there will certainly be a feel of normality about them: falleras will not have to wear facemasks during street processions, pasacalles, nor during the Ofrenda, the emotional part of the festival when flowers are offered to the Virgin. However, anyone attending the mascelataes, the loud, daytime fire cracker displays, the nighttime fireworks, or other similar crowded events, will have to wear facemasks, although there will be no limit on numbers. Facemasks will, however, still be necessary at indoor events.
There will be fines for those breaking the rules, according to Gloria Calero, regional delegate for the national government, and In fact, there will be more than 2,000 local police officers on duty, as well as the Civil Guard and National Police. There will also be added aerial control with a helicopter and several drones over the city, all of which will be managed from a control centre in Plaza del Ayuntamiento. Calero said: “Of course there will be sanctions for infractions”, however she added that “we’re not in a police state” and she insisted that the objective is for the fiestas to be safe and insisted that this “depends on individual responsibility” and everything that has been learnt since 2020.
She said: “We know where we have to wear facemasks and where we can take them off”. She added that police vigilance would be so that nobody felt “worried or afraid” because “as always many people” are expected to visit the city.
It was also announced that nightime metros will once again be running during the most important days of the festivities.
Unlike the Fallas celebrated last September, when many covid restrictions were still in place, next month’s festivities will also see the return of mobile discos throughout the city. A word of warning for anyone who has yet to experience Valencia in Fallas, don’t expect much peace and quiet!
Some accommodation already fully booked
According to the city’s tourism business associations many rooms and apartments are already fully booked, and foreign tourists, whose presence was almost inexistent last year due to travel restrictions, are expected to return in large numbers perhaps even to pre-pandemic levels.
Up for grabs – 200 tickets to watch the mascelta from the City Hall balcony
With the return of mascletas in Plaza del Ayuntamieno, there is also a return of members of the public to the City Hall balcony.
Anyone interested in entering the draw can do so via the website https://www.valencia.es/cas/mascleta-balcon-ayuntamiento from 0:00 Monday 21 February until 23:59 hours on Wednesday 23 February. The competition is open to anyone over the age of 18 who is a registered resident in the city and the draw will be held on Friday 25 February. City councillor for Festival Culture, Carlos Galiana said: “It’s one more step towards a return to the maximum possible normality after the cancellation [of Fallas ] in 2020 and its postponement las year.”
There are 10 pairs of tickets for each day from 1 to 10 March, they are for a specific day which cannot be changed and if a winner cannot take up their invitation they will be passed on to the first person on the reserve list. From 11 March those people who had won tickets for 2020, just before Fallas was cancelled and the country went into lockdown, will be able to use them on their corresponding days.