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Posted by portugalpress on November 09, 2018

A bitter row has broken out in Portimão over the town’s annual St. Martin’s fair, a century-old autumn event. Opposition party PSD accuses the PS-led council of “ignoring the historic and cultural origin” of the fair by holding it especially early this year while the council refutes the accusations, saying they are “a bunch of lies”. In fact, it says the PSD councillor in the town hall approved the change of date last year.

The gist of the issue is that PSD is unhappy that the fair started on November 2, saying that the event traditionally started on November 11, St Martin’s Day – the day that will mark the end of the fair this year.

In a public statement, PSD defends that this change of date means that the “symbolism of the fair’s creation is lost” and also criticises the fact that the fair coincided this year with Silves’ Feira de Todos os Santos.

According to the social-democrats, the fact that the event ends on Sunday means that fair exhibitors are unable to attend could other regional fairs “like in Lagoa and Lagos”.

Portimão council has since issued a public explanation, accusing PSD’s statement of being “filled with untruths”.

As the council points out, last year’s fair started just one day earlier on November 3. In 2016, the fair started on November 4.

“It isn’t true that the fair has traditionally started on November 11, like the PSD says. What has happened recently is that the fair takes place across 10 days and includes St Martin’s Day and two weekends, which is the case once again in 2018.”

The council also criticises PSD for mentioning Lagoa’s fair, which hasn’t taken place for “at least 20 years” and stresses that PSD councilman Manuel Valente approved the date of Portimão’s 2018 fair in November 2017.

Lastly, the council says that it was alerted that its fair would coincide with Silves’ fair two months ago and that it did everything it could to change the date, which was not possible due to the International Dance Festival that will take place at the Portimão Arena on November 17.

“Over 100 foreigners will take part and have already bought their tickets and reserved their hotel rooms,” the council added.

The fair is the town’s most historic event, having been held every year since 1662.