“You need to keep living” is their motto. Vive Park Algeciras is somewhat different to traditional fairgrounds and offers 162 attractions, food stalls and tombolas within an area of 43,000 square metres in Algeciras. Capacity limits and hygiene measures apply.
“You need to keep living” is Vive Park’s motto; a travelling amusement park which sets itself up in different locations throughout Andalucía. It made its debut this April in Sevilla, travelling to cities like Córdoba and Jerez de la Frontera. The amusement park will be open in Algeciras until June 29th at the Parque Feria walkway in Algeciras.
It’s been a joyful experience so far, but the park has not gone without criticism on social media in the Campo de Gibraltar – with some people expressing their fear of gatherings of this kind despite the general improvement of the pandemic and the vaccine rollout.
However, the Association of Fairgrounds of Andalucía, Ceuta and Melilla, who are backing the initiative, insist that the fair is indeed a “safe enclosure” which complies with Spanish covid regulations: Capacity control, queue management, regular park disinfecting and mandatory mask wearing, among other safeguards are in place. Smoking is also prohibited throughout the site, and food and drink can only be consumed within the designated restaurant areas at a table.
Vive Park, which is brilliantly able to adapt to whatever space is available in the chosen city, occupies an area of over 43,000 square metres, surrounded by a fence. The amusement park will be open between 7 AM – 12 PM, with 7 entrances and exits, and a total of 162 stalls and 65 fair attractions for people of all ages, as well as 50 food stalls and 47 games, popularly known as “tombolas”.
And despite the fearful social media chatter and outrage, Vive Park, which had been suspended for 2 years in a row due to the pandemic, could not have received a more positive welcome by the people… and the numbers speak for themselves:
The park’s first weekend clocked some 22,000 people visiting, many of whom came from all over the region to enjoy themselves, forcing local police to reinforce traffic surveillance in the area. A new taxi rank has also been set up at Calle Pulsera.
According to the organisation’s estimates, the park’s maximum capacity of 6,000 people was reached on Saturday, which saw the amusement park having to close its doors for several minutes at around 10 PM. On Friday the 11th, around 4,500 people were registered passing through the doors, and similar figures were registered on Sunday, which saw 5,000 people by 10 PM.
And its still buzzing on weekdays, when Vive Park also has special offers like 2×1 at the “chacharritos” (rides like the ferris wheel, rollercoaster, Viking ship and bumper cars), which began on the 15th , and “a day without music” which took place on the 16th between 8 PM – 10 PM. The intention of this was 2 hours without music so that those on the autism spectrum and Asperger’s could enjoy the facilities without suffering sensory overload.
An Appeal for More Towns to Host Vive Park
For now, no other towns within the Campo de Gibraltar have stated their intention to host the Vive Park (although La Línea was recently considering the proposition), despite the idea being mostly well received by the public.
Politial party Ciudadanos demonstrated their support for this initiative when several of their representatives, such as their Regional Deputy for Cádiz Ángela Rodríguez, and their spokesman for the Economic Transformation Commission Fran Carrillo, accompanied by other councillors, paid a visit to the park.
All delegates said that they wanted to “personally thank the City Council of Algeciras for their efforts in hosting on such a successful fairground, even in spite of the current circumstances”, and despite criticism from some members of the public and the opposition parties.
“Fairgrounds have been neglected and left behind during the pandemic, Ciudadanos complained, stating that “there are small fairgrounds which have not been able to be a part of this project”, so they are encouraging other municipalities which have not granted permission for Vive Park to “make some effort for the sake of other fairground workers”.
In any case, Vive Park has been a breath of fresh air, not just for the performers, attraction operators and market stalls, but also for the kids who have lost a year of their childhood and are emerging from a difficult school year.
“People already know the rules, and that they must be adhered to, so that they can continue living with some joy in their lives, at least until we return to normal” Miguel Antúnez, the director of the Fairground Association, said when the amusement park was announced to pay a visit to Algeciras.