Pilar day overflows Guanarteme
seafood paella

Pilar day overflows Guanarteme

“We made paella for more than a thousand people, but we will be incomplete”. The speaker is Simón Alejandro, chairman of the Pilar de Guanarteme Fiestas Commission and an entire institution in the neighborhood after running the show for 30 years. Wednesday, October 12, Plaza del Pilar in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is filled with belingo desire. After two years of the pandemic, and with the exception of 2021’s festive exercise—there were only five days of cultural events—the calendar of events is back, with emotion and style always reflected on the faces of neighbors and neighbors underneath. the endlessly watchful gaze of announcer Mara González.

Queues filled the Plaza del Pilar to buy tickets worth a plate of paella, but that was no excuse.. Plates of yellow rice fluttered under the tent. Leonor, Lidia, Delmi, Lucia and Paqui constantly sent the dishes in a banana. And when the paella pan was clean, you had to wait a few minutes for someone else to be brought from the back room. Seven paellas paraded in Guanarteme this Wednesday. Mixed chicken, seafood and vegetarian. For every taste. The first disappeared in a little over a quarter of an hour, the second did the same in ten minutes.

“We’ve been cutting onions, garlic, peppers for two days…”, Delmi details as Salsa7 orchestra finishes tuning the last chords before starting verbena, «We expected people, but not so much, it shows the desire to party, to reveal everything; In the end, the greatest reward is not to wear masks and to be together.. Recalling how Simon Alejandro’s mother and son were in the blood of the party, Leonor says, “It’s a tremendous illusion to be able to serve paella again in the neighborhood,” he says. as far as chairs”.


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Virgin of the Pillars 2022
Ramon Reguero

“After 30 years on the commission, it was a gift,” says President Simón Alejandro.


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The truth is that these Pilar festivities have a special twist as they are reborn after the pandemic. «I started with the commission in 1992 and came back in 2022, taking it forward 30 years»draws attention to Simón Alejandro, who pauses for a few seconds to realize his symbolic year: “My skin swells when I think about it.” With him at the helm, the first drag premiere was held at Guanarteme. “I was terrified of how all this was going to turn out,” he admits, “and I thought I wouldn’t live until the 2019 holidays. [las últimas que se celebraron con rigor y al completo antes de la pandemia]but after all these years of work it was a real gift, the response from the public was amazing».

Great paella from Pilar in Guanarteme. John Castro


And as Guanarteme replaces these days with Pilar festivities, “neighbors and non-neighbours, because even though we’re just a neighborhood party, not from the city, people come from everywhere,” the president elaborates. Commission, ‘we’re back in a big way’. There are many people these days who put the grain of sand; Salvadora, for example, recently cut 16 kilos of chicken legs.. However, they point out that the paella would not have been possible without the predisposition of the team of chefs who prepared it from the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Guanarteme and Chile’s Neighbors

“Our reference chief, Aure, we call her fondly, was unable to be here due to a medical disability, but a team was found and everything was perfect,” he says. Pepi González, president of the Guanarteme Neighborhood Association and Chile. With a microphone in one hand and a cell phone in the other to do live shows on Facebook, he ruled the day just because he knew how to do it. “It has cost us dearly to come back, but here we are; It went very well, thanks, among other things, to the District Council team. [cuyo titular Luis Zamorano estuvo presente este miércoles en la fiesta]We wanted to reward it with the Golden Column,” he says.

The gospel choir M Lou plays Ave Maria to the Virgen del Pilar in front of an “empty” square


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The members of Salsa7 started playing the first songs behind them, covering songs from yesterday and today, and getting so many couples, family members and friends to move their hips, legs, arms and whatever they need. After them it would be Los Lola’s turn, and the afternoon religious acts were heroes once again. Virgen del Pilar is back on the streets of Guanarteme after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic, after the 6 o’clock Eucharist. your coronavirus. The image left the parish temple on this occasion accompanied by the San Isidro de Cardones music association and its 30 members.

This was the second time the Virgin went to the Plaza del Pilar on her big day. Around 1 pm, Gospel choir M Lou sang to him Ave Maria, followed by the release of balloons and pigeons by Club Colombófilo de Guanarteme. “The square was full of people,” says Pepi, still excited; “I couldn’t help crying when I intervened, my Aunt Mara was looking after me,” she adds, pointing to the mural of the radio host, “she was like a second mother to me, she taught me to walk in the garden. The world.” And when he picks up a microphone, charts and skills for communication are noticed. “You remember all my loved ones who are no longer here at last, my aunt, my mother, everyone who has left these epidemic years.”

The Virgen del Pilar de Guanarteme procession. Ramon Reguero


And the thing is, despite the slow gentrification process that the Guanarteme neighborhood is going through, its lifelong residents still live on its streets and get swamped by the party. The “scandal” that the celebrations unfolded on this occasion makes it clear to Pepi. “No one used to want to live here before because it smelled bad from the factories and now look,” says Cristina Vega, after finishing her plate of paella and her lemon fanta.

New neighbors like Isabel Moreno’s children. Extremeña came to spend a season on the island and found this Wednesday in the glory of Pilar. “People wanted to party, they got you in your stomach like butterflies, it’s a good feeling,” says the lady. “Your mother is getting up,” explains Cristina Vega, in the Canarian version, “I got goosebumps thinking we’re here after the whole pandemic has passed.” “He had a passion to come back,” says Rosario Santana in the same bench.. And so, surrounded by taverns and with orchestras in the background, it was time to get on with the festivities whose calendar will culminate with the Drag Queen premiere next Saturday.

40 dogs for five categories

The Pilar de Guanarteme festivities continue this Thursday with the dog podium. Starting at five in the afternoon, the event will fill the square of the capital’s neighborhood with furry four-legged friends. The parade will feature as many as 40 registered dogs competing to win one of the prizes drawn in five different categories. Prizes will be awarded to the eldest, the most beautiful, the best dressed and the most similar to its owner. Then, at six in the afternoon, there will be an adoption podium with five dogs from Insular Animal Shelter: Serena, Watson, Dante, Rambo and Celia. Those who participate and are interested will be able to claim what they want to add to their lives. The hairiest day of the party schedule. Starting at nine o’clock, a moment of silence will be paid to Mexican Alejandro Fernández. | hunting

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