Cider, cuisine, music and traditions all come together at the fiesta of La Encarnación and the Apple fiesta of Valleseco.
Apple trees dug their roots into the fertile soil of Valleseco at the same time as history did, here at the green heart of Gran Canaria. It all started back in 1858, when the then mayor, Vicente Suárez Rodríguez, decided to reclaim some barren land around the municipality, and plant it with fruit trees to stem the erosion. The governor provided the town hall with examples of the pippin apple trees which settled comfortably into the hillsides caressed with the gentle trade winds. These breezes maintained the optimum levels of humidity the apple trees required, known locally as manzaneros.
These trees have since sprouted and spread all over the region, to the point that they have become the main symbol of the municipality. Indeed, every year on 1st October they celebrate their great day with the Apple Fiesta. This year’s event will be held alongside the procession in honour of the VIrgin of La Encarnación, because in Valleseco the land and the sky are a close knit community.
The apple is the event’s great diva. The day kicks off at ten o’clock in the morning with the inauguration of the Craft Fair and the Cider Market at the Plaza Municipal, where visitors will be able to try out some local Valleseco cider, and attend an exhibition on how the sweet cider variety is made, as well as being able to see different apple varieties. It provides a unique opportunity to travel the galaxy of marmelades, liqueurs, desserts, apple recipes and ciders which have all come about thanks to the pippin from Valleseco.
An hour later, at eleven o’clock, the 5th annual Big Apple Competition will begin, which serves as an appetiser for the religious celebrations and the procession. At two o’clock the religious fervour will give way once again to the senses of smell, taste, sight and touch, with the food tasting sessions featuring products from Asturias (northern Spain) including fabada, chorizos, sweet cider and apple tart, along many other culinary delights that feature in the twinning of Valleseco with Asturias, through a bridging of flavours that stretch over a sparkling golden ocean.
This bubbly, joyous and all encompassing fiesta goes on until nightfall, with bouncy castles and children’s workshops, plus the Grand Artistic Gala starring promising young musicians at the Valleseco Auditorium. There will also be a comedy show by comedian Matías Alonso and traditional music show featuring La Trova musical combo, on the stage once more at the Plaza Municipal.
The grand Fiesta of Our Lady of La Encarnación and the Apple Fiesta will be preceded on Friday, 29th September, by the 19th annual Abenechara Folklore Show, at 20.30. On Saturday at 18.30, it will be the turn for the Pilgrimage and Offering in honour of the Patron Saint, a day which will be rounded off by a night time street party and a firework display which will illuminate the normally peaceful and silent night time of the surrounding area.
On Saturday, 7th October 2017, music will take centre stage with a live performance by the Gran Canaria Philharmonic Orchestra at the Valleseco Auditorium, the perfect sound track for a fiesta that stars none other than the pippin apples which in themselves are culinary symphonic delight.