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September San Fermin celebration in Pamplona?

Rick Steves' guidebook says there is a non-touristy celebration in Pamplona in September (not the running of the bulls in July) for San Fermin. Information about this event online is scarce. There are, apparently, cultural, musical and religious events for a week around September 25. Any leads on this? Anyone who has been and could provide insight? I'm wondering if the dearth of info means perhaps tourists are not encouraged to come? Thanks!

Posted by
542 posts

The fiesta is called San Fermin Txikito.

From the city hall's site they say:

San Fermín Txikito Festival: held in late September, a smaller version of the July festival mostly attended by locals.

It is kind of a last hurrah of summer. The kids like it because of the "Gigantes y Cabezudos".

I think the dearth of info is just that there isn't particularly a lot of stuff happening. The poster for the Txikito will be announced this week and soon after they will probably publish the calendar of activities.

If you want a festive but not crazy time, don't be afraid to go.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks, dlindstrom! I'm debating whether to spend the night and the next day in Pamplona, after driving over the mountains from visiting Pays Basque, in order to see some of this celebration on Sunday, Sept. 25 Any advice about this? I'm at the stage of trip planning where hard choices have to be made! :-)

Posted by
8994 posts

I was there in 2018 while this was happening. Huge street parties going on all night long until about 06:00. Make sure you have a hotel with sound-proof windows or that is far away from the downtown party area. If you do not have a room reservation yet, you may be too late. The town will be packed.
Edited my date. I was there in 2018, not in 2015.

Posted by
542 posts

@Ms Jo,

it is possible that in 2015 the Txikito was as wild as you remember, but right around that time the residents of the Old Town were getting sick of that kind of behavior, and they worked hard to stop the noise and the parties. Also the Txikito is neither a bank holiday or a non school day. Charanga bands are bothersome any time of the day.

Of course that goes out the window in the July Fiestas.

Posted by
542 posts

@rlwhtmore2,

did you end up going to Pamplona for the San Fermin Txikitos?

How was it?

Posted by
4 posts

Txikito was great! A very local celebration, with spontaneous group folk-dancing and singing in the streets, musical groups of accordionists, flutists tambourines and drummers, traditional folksingers, the city's concert band in front of the city hall, the "gigantes"--giant papier-mâché figures dancing through the streets--a packed mass in the church of San Fermin de Aldapa, the parading of the statute of San Fermin from the church through the streets, dancers in traditional costumes (including adorable flowery hats) acting as guards for Fermin and a "bighead" character in a tri-corn hat and cutaway coat whose job it was to chase and bap children with a foam ball on a string. (We bought one to bring home!) Lots of happy people of all ages from the four barrios of the Casco Viejo. As you had thought, there was an official program which I found about two weeks' ahead of time from the internet but it wasn't that helpful to a visitor, even one who can read Spanish, as it assumed a local level of knowledge about the area and the event. Locals we asked for information--hotel desk, shopkeepers--weren't helpful either, surprisingly. Most of what we saw we found entirely by happenstance by wandering the streets. It really isn't set up for outside visitors and you have to be comfortable in crowds. As another poster commented, the festivities (people, fireworks) did go well into the night even outside a hotel on the outskirts of the old town, but it was a small price to pay for a memorable experience. I'm sure there were other tourists there, but I didn't see them. I was inspired by the happy spirit of community and general agreeableness of all the locals. Even with lots of drinking, I saw no bad behavior and we felt entirely safe.