Fallas 2023: More police, more falleros, more visitors expected and a call for quiet at siesta time

THE smell of fireworks in the air, children throwing bangers on every corner, and the ring of brass band music in the streets. This can only mean one thing…..Las Fallas 2023 are here.

This year’s festivities are the first Fallas without restrictions since the pandemic and for the next two weeks, the streets of Valencia will be filled with stalls selling buñuelos con chocolate, magnificent Fallas monuments and processions of exquisitely dressed falleras and falleros.

For the uninitiated, the week starting 13 March is when things really begin to kick off, with roads being blocked as the fallas monuments are put up, carpas, huge marquee-style constructions, appear and processions to collect prizes or offer flowers cause further traffic chaos. The two main days of the Ofrenda are 17 and 18 March, when the city’s falleras tearfully take flowers to Plaza de la Virgen and the bouquets are woven into a beautiful cape for the effigy of the patron of the city, La Virgen de los Desamparados. If you drive in the city centre, don’t even think about it on these days.

This year there will also be concerts on the Paseo de la Alameda and a new location for the night-time fireworks. A mascletà, the noisy midday display of fireworks, is held daily at 2pm until 19 March in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento. That evening the monuments go up in smoke in the cremà, and the fiesta comes to an end.

To find out what’s happening each day check out the Ayuntamiento programme here.

Mascletà in Plaza del Ayuntamiento on 6 March (Ayto Valencia)

No fireworks between 3pm and 5pm please

For some people the arrival of Las Fallas can’t come fast enough, but for others it’s an annual torture, trying to pick their way through crowded streets and avoid bangers and fireworks going off at every corner. This year, however, for the first time, the city council is asking people not to throw fireworks between 3pm and 5pm.

The city’s deputy mayor, Sergi Campillo, explained: “This is to facilitate rest during these hours or so that people who have dogs can walk them more peacefully during this time. Pets suffer especially from the noise of firecrackers and, therefore, it is a good idea to have a few hours during the day when no fireworks are set off”.

The new recommendation has been included in what is known as the Bando Fallero, which sets out which streets are to be closed and between which times. More details can be found at the City Council website.

Unprecedented number of police officers

Nearly 5,000 police officers will be keeping Valencia safe during this year’s festivities with more than 1,800 national police officers and 3,000 local officers being deployed. As the festival returns to normal after the Covid-19 pandemic a large influx of people is expected, taking into account that the most important days fall on a weekend and that the following Monday is a public holiday in Madrid, a circumstance that is expected to attract many people from the capital.

Pilar Bernabé, Government Delegate in the Valencia Region, explained that the National Police force will be made up of officers who are usually deployed in Valencia as well as others, some from other provinces, who will be incorporated in what will be an “unprecedented reinforcement in the history of the city”.

La Ofrenda (Ayto de Valencia)

Fallero and fallera numbers up

The city’s councillor for festivals and culture Carlos Galiana, has been celebrating figures released last week showing that the number of falleros and falleras has once again passed the 100,000 mark, following the sharp decline in 2020 and 2021. Galiana, who is also president of the Central Fallera Board said: “This recovery in the Fallas census is great news for Fallas and for the cultural, economic and social reactivation of our city. We can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel of the pandemic,” In March 2021 the figure had dropped by 10% to just 88,685 falleros and falleras.

This year’s figure, of 103.317, is also higher than that of previous years, when it ranged from 94,136 in 2017 to 99,756 just before the pandemic. Women make up 55.93%, with a total of 57,787 falleras.

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