Spain shrugs off bad economy, launches bull runs
“There’s so much wine on the ground you could get drunk by drinking it off the floor,” said Samantha Arnold, a 25-year-old pharmaceutical saleswoman from Australia.
In an almost laughable bid to try to keep the noise level down during the fiesta known for 24-hour street partying, Pamplona town hall on Monday banned street vendor sales of vuvuzelas, the droning plastic horns so popular at World Cup matches in South Africa.
San Fermin’s first bull-run starts at 8 a.m. Wednesday, when hundreds of people race ahead of six fighting bulls and six bell-tinkling steers — meant to keep them in a tight pack — that charge down the 930-yard course from a holding pen to the northern town’s bull ring.
In the evening, the bulls will be killed in the bull ring, and their meat gets served up in Pamplona’s restaurants.
Dozens of people are injured each year in the morning runs. Most get hurt after falling, but some are gored and trampled by the beasts.
Last year’s festival saw the first goring death in nearly 15 years.
The fiesta became a big international event after Ernest Hemingway wrote about it in his 1926 novel, “The Sun Also Rises.”
Associated Press Writers Ciaran Giles and Victor Caivano contributed from Madrid and Pamplona.