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San Antonio's 6th Medieval Marine Fair

San Antonio's history

San Antonio's history is inextricably bound with the sea, situated as it is on the biggest bay on the island. The Romans, in a triumph of imaginative nomenclature called it Portus Magnus (big port) and their name still survives today in the Catalan name for the town; Sant Antoni de Portmany.

In later years the town and harbour's defences against raiding corsairs and pirates from North Africa and Turkey were the enormous towers armed with canons around the coastline which can still be seen today. Even San Antonio's church was equipped with canons on the roof to give more cover against the pirates.

These days the sea still plays an important role in the life of the town with the big ferries bringing in goods and passengers, fishing fleets still using the harbour, hundreds of pleasure craft moored up and of course the little water taxis, glass bottom boats and thrill a minute speed boat trips all based in the bay.

To celebrate its nautical history (and to prolong the holiday season) San Antonio now holds an annual Medieval Marine Fair, this is the sixth, which will take place from the 1st to 4th October. Held all along the seafront from 'the egg' up to the fishing port, this whole section of the Paseo Maritimo is jam full of market stalls – about 100 in total – selling everything with a vaguely medieval connection – arts, crafts, leather ware, soap, trinkets, herbs, spices, cheese, cold meats and so on.

And it gets better, for despite the period's dark history of plague, pestilence, bloodshed and slaughter on an industrial scale, San Antonio's Hello Magazine version has us all feasting on giant hocks of ham, enormous sausages, two rods and a cubit long, and racks of ribs all roasting merrily on gigantic spits and grills along the way. There's musical entertainment with strolling mummers, pipers and drummers, jingling bells on jesters' hats and displays of falconry, fakiry and of course, hordes of marauding pirates.

To top it all off, there are fire shows when it gets dark and the fun goes on until around midnight on each of the four days. If you're on the island, set sail for San Antonio and grab a big helping of ye good old medieval days.

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