The Cultural Association Pinolere, that 36 years ago he put the Orotavian neighborhood that gives it its name on the cultural map of the Canary Islands, your future is at stake in the fair scheduled for the next 8, 9 and 10 October. After a year and a half without being able to organize any event, this group runs the risk of disappearing if the regional handicraft exhibition does not return under its jurisdiction. Jesús García, manager of the entity, cannot hide his concern after 18 months of bad news, but still trusts that the public will respond on the second weekend of October and collaborate to alleviate the difficult situation that the craft sector is experiencing due to the effects caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
In Pinolere They have been struggling for months to pay bills, salaries and unavoidable expenses. The suspension of the Handicraft Fair in November 2020, with the artisans already setting up their stalls in La Orotava, was a huge stick for the morale and the economy of this non-profit group that knows very well what it is to live in the financial wire, practically since its foundation, in the 80s of the 20th century. The association’s income comes from its museum, also a victim of the tourist stoppage, and from the regional craft fair and other events that have not been able to be held either due to the limitations imposed by the Covid-19. There are already two suspended cheese fairs, a craft fair and two school meetings with trades, sports, music and traditional games that have not been able to take thousands of Canarian students to the Pinolere Ethnographic Park.
Jesús García acknowledges that the entity is going through significant financial difficulties: «The association is right now on the edge, so if this fair doesn’t go well, we are in real risk of disappearing. These are very difficult times to get ahead. We have been in great difficulty for six months due to lack of income. We have had to do real virguerias to meet expenses that are unavoidable ».
Last September 11, this group lived very bitter hours, which almost ended all the illusions set in the 2021 fair. A fire, which affected 7.2 hectares of land, started just 25 meters from the windows of the office of the Pinolere Cultural Association. The fairgrounds and the Ethnographic Museum, with its rehabilitated haystacks, were at the mercy of a fire for hours that fortunately did not reach the site. The intervention of the aerial means avoided a real disaster in the neighborhood.
Jesús García details that 180 artisans will attend the fair, “from all over the Canary Islands”, and that it will be the “most complicated and most important” edition in the history of the group. “We are risking the future of the Pinolere Cultural Association and also of many artisans, who have been waiting for a long time for a fair as important in commercial terms as ours”, García acknowledges. Ticket sales are progressing little by little, “but it still needs a final push.” The capacity has been limited to 750 people at a time, 33% of the total capacity of the venue, which has 10,000 square meters of surface. During each day many more people will pass by because at least three visiting hours are foreseen: from 10:00 to 13:00, from 13:00 to 15:00 and from 15:00 to 20:00. There will be an entry and exit control, so that at all times it is known how many people are inside.
“We hope that the fair works and that society responds to the call of the artisans and the association so that we have a good weekend,” García insists. In addition, for people who wish to collaborate with the appointment and cannot attend, Pinolere has enabled a Row 0 with a price of 2.50 euros, the same that the actual ticket costs. These sales will not affect the general capacity.
The doors of the fairgrounds will open at 10:00 am on Friday, October 8, although the official opening by local, island and regional authorities will be at 12:00. During this opening ceremony, the Cho Feriantes de Honor 2021 awards and the XVIII Villa de La Orotava Handicraft and Heritage Award will be awarded. The poster for this edition has the collaboration of the paper and cardboard artisan María Eugenia Pacheco González, the photographer Yapci Gómez Lima and the Taller del Sol.
La Luz and Las Candias
This year, other recognitions and tributes to popular traditions will also be organized. After Pinolere reserved space in the past for the Mascarones de Santa Cruz de La Palma, the Caballos Fuscos de Fuencaliente, the Papahuevos de Agaete, the Guanches de Candelaria or the Rancho de Ánimas de Teror, in 2021 the local tradition of the adornment with papers from the festivities of Las Candias and La Luz, in La Orotava.
In addition, on Saturday October 9, Olivia Frías Pérez, a nougat from Tacoronte, “who is 80 years old and has been attending the Pinolere Handicraft Fair for more than 30” will be honored. This confectioner is also linked to the aforementioned festivals of Las Candias and La Luz. «His mother, who was also a nougat and went from party to party in the villages of the island, went into labor at the La Luz parties more than 70 years ago. They took her to a house and there she gave birth to their son Lucio. Two curious stories that have come together in this fair ”, tells Jesús García.
To make it possible to go to the fair by public transport, a free bus service will be organized again, which will leave every hour from the center of La Orotava, specifically from Avenida Sor Soledad Cobián. Tickets can be purchased in advance on the Pinolere website (www.pinolere.es) and through the Tickety online platform (www.tickety.es). Some tickets will go on sale directly at the box office.
During the same weekend, the Virtual Craft Fair Pinolere 2021 will take place, through the collective’s website. It will be a complementary showcase for all artisans participating in the fair, “who will be able to interact with buyers in a comfortable, simple way and attend to orders.” The page will include a link to the Digitalizarte Virtual Fair, within the Seseo Canarias platform, which will also be present in person.
The Pinolere Cultural Association has launched an anti-contagion plan for Covid-19. The event will be held in an open-air space, of about 10,000 square meters, with capacity control, safety distance, a single entrance and exit. In addition, a circuit will be established to be able to visit all the spaces of the artisans. The use of a mask will be mandatory to access the venue and there will be hydroalcoholic gel dispensers in each space.
In order to guarantee interpersonal distance at all times, the capacity of all areas will be determined and both interior routes and common areas will be marked by waiting marks. Measures will also be put into practice to avoid crowds, mainly in the waiting area and at the entrances to the exhibition. The entrance and exit of the enclosure will be done in a staggered way, there will be rotations of people or groups of people living together. In addition, the cleaning of common surfaces, such as railings, tables, chairs and toilet elements will be reinforced.
Solidarity with La Palma
Each of the 180 artisans who will participate in the XXXVI Pinolere Handicraft Fair will donate at least one piece to raise funds for the benefit of those affected by the volcanic eruption of La Palma. «The idea is to show all the products so that people can purchase them in person and make their contribution to the reconstruction of the affected areas, also through the donation systems set up by the Cabildo palmero and the Los Llanos de Aridane, El Paso and Tazacorte ”, according to Jesús García. This solidarity initiative, which has the motto Everyone with the Beautiful Island, has had the unanimous support of the artisans who will come to Pinolere.