Big week in Bilbao

It’s a big week in Bilbao,
Spain. Literally.

This week (always starting on the Saturday of the third week
of August) is La Semana Grande. Look how
fun it looks. This week-long festival has
everything I could want from a week-long festival: food, loads of free concerts, nightly fireworks
displays, giant puppets, and most excitingly, the strongman competition.

I’m not a strong man. Maybe that’s why I always enjoy a good
strongman competition. In recent years at La Semana Grande, the strongman competition has become the unofficial highlight of the whole week.

Competitors in this week’s Bilbao strongman competition will
compete in various events. In the Aizkolaris competition, men with axes will try to be the fastest to chop
a 45-inch-thick log in half. In the
Trontzalaris, two-man teams race to shave 22 slices of wood off a
70-inch log using a giant two-man saw. And in the
Barrenadores, which takes place on the final day of the strongman
competition, four-man teams must create several holes in a block of granite using
only a steel javelin.

I was surprised to learn that the festival has only been
around since 1978 (usually these things seem to originate hundreds of years
ago). Every year, about 100,000 people come from around Spain and all over the world to join in the festivities. Some day I would like
to be one of them.


Photo: Txeluis via Flickr (CC license)

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