We are living one of the hardest weeks of the festive group of Dénia in its history. All major summer festive events have been suspended by the health crisis. This will undoubtedly be another blow to the Dianense economy, but above all, public health must be ensured.
However, there are many open questions regarding the celebration of this year and how it will affect the groups that were waiting for it so much. For this reason, we have contacted the Councilor for Fiestas in Dénia, Óscar Mengual, to describe the situation and tell us the reason for each step taken.
QUESTION. Is it the first time that the Fiestas have been suspended in the history of Dénia?
ANSWER. Yes it is the first time, unfortunately.
Q. Was the organization well advanced?
R. We already had contacts with groups, orchestras, mobile discs and with the people who take the issue of the Bous a la Mar ranchers. But hey, they were all right at the point of waiting to see if we signed contracts or not.
Therefore, as they were all aware of the situation and we were in contact with them, it has really been possible to stop in time so that it does not represent an expense that the City Council has had to do so that it cannot be executed later.
Q. What will happen to this year's Quintos? Will they be able to celebrate their parties?
R. We still have to speak more calmly about this. We will do something with them, of course. But we need a little more time to assess possibilities and see what is the best way to move the issue forward.
Q. Knowing the great tourist attraction that some of the Fiestas proposals represent, what is the economic impact that you have calculated that this cancellation will mean for the city?
R. Obviously, an impact will have. I do not have those data, but there will be an impact. But of course, we saw that it was going to go on too long, with yet another extension of the state of alarm until May 11, a month and a half from the start of the festivities… It was unfeasible.
We weren't going to screw people up by signing contracts, starting the machinery of what the organization entails, and then leaving all the companies behind. So we decided that, since you have to do harm, say it now, because the chances of it being done are nil.
If I had suspended it on March 15, it would surely have been very hasty, because we did not know what we were still talking about with the pandemic. But today, as things stand, with all the people who have died in Spain and the danger of this virus, we cannot risk it.
P. In any case, the non-celebration will also mean cost savings for the City Council. Have you thought about where to allocate it? Or do you save it for the following year?
R. We, since a large part of that money cannot be spent on the Fiesta Mayor, have done, like all departments, a pooling in which all the items from each department that will not be spent will be made available for social welfare, to promote the things that are now being debated among all political groups and businessmen for the economic revival of the city. Because there are many people, businessmen, freelancers, SMEs, who are suffering a lot because they have had to close or do ERTES. Sure, all we are going to do is make ourselves available to you. It is something that we had talked about for days.
Q. The Moors and Christians have also been suspended. Do you think the FEMMICC's decision is correct?
R. Obviously yes. Every day I am in contact with both the President of the FEMMICC and the President of the Local Board Fallera. The president of the FEMMICC has been informing me of all the steps and before sending the statement we were talking a couple of times and, of course, he has the full support of the City Council. It is a very commendable measure on their part, because they have put public health before what the party is.
It is very hard because the journey of summer festivals has always been Fiesta Mayor in July and Moors and Christians in August. And this summer is not going to be. It is sadness, obviously, for everyone. But what are we going to do? We have to support all measures that are in favor of facilitating public health. The Santíssima Trinitat have also postponed them to next year, the hermitage of Sant Joan ... Everything.
Q. Are you still optimistic that the Fallas will be held this year?
R. You know what's up The following weeks will tell us, because I think that something would be done until September, including ... I would not. Three months from now remain this year. We leave the door open in case it is possible at the sanitary level.
But of course, we will have to keep looking at it as the weeks go by. It depends on how the de-escalation is done, which is that word that we had never spent and now we have it in our mouths all day. Depending on these next days it will be known.
The Fallera Local Board is also aware of this. Depending on how we see the measures arriving from Madrid, we can do it. Right now I can't say yes or no. If it was July or August, obviously not. But if there is a bigger margin to be able to do them, the better. Which is not what happens with Moors and Christians or the Fiesta Mayor, which have no meaning outside the summer. I can't imagine a Bous a la Mar in November. But we leave that little door open to see what the Fallas decide, because we will support everything they and the Moors and Christians do. You have to give them their time and organize everything.
P. When the cancellation of the Holidays was announced, you left the door open to celebrate the end of the coronavirus when all this was over. I guess you said it as a joke, but is it such a bad idea? Have you thought of alternatives as a claim for winter to replace summer parties?
R. Sure! If it was possible to do some kind of event some weekend, or a musical performance, it would be nice to be able to do it. But hey, we can't say for sure. It is the same that I have told you about the Fallas. Let's wait for the last quarter of the year to see what happens, in case it can or cannot be done. We leave it open just in case.