Boas Festas de Sagres

The month of August in Portugal means a circuit of the festas that make the rounds of the towns that surround us. The carnies who set up the arching lights and bumper cars live near Mucifal—I found their off-season lair once on a run—and starting in Azenhas do Mar they continue through Janas to Almoçageme then back to Praia das Maçãs.

In Azenhas do Mar, the festas celebrate São Lourenço, and take place in a plaza seemingly dedicated to such gatherings up and overlooking the town. The usual stands of trinket sellers join with kiosks vending copos de ginja (the cherry liqueur from Óbidos) in cups of either white or dark chocolate for a euro. Enjoying one of these is an opening salvo to the main event, a rite of passage. 

Next, you can try your luck at the ring toss—in Portugal you try for a bottle of vinho by “ringing” its neck. Boa sorte!

The ladies at the Sagres hut pull imperials for a ticket, another euro. They never stop pouring once their shields are up, as the DJ warms up the audience for the headlining band. A string of 80s hits devolves into the band’s covers of Portuguese oldies, and I’m glad for the Sagres in my hand with which to dance.


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