Mancor de la Vall is a relatively small town currently embracing around 1,500 residents. Located at the foot of the Tramuntana mountain range, Mancor de la Vall nestles less than 5 kilometers from the industrial centre of Inca, North of the Island, yet seems to belong in a world of its own.
This small town - or is it a large village? I’m never quite sure - certainly embraces the embodiment of a charming, village atmosphere with its cosy surround of quaint stone houses, cobbled streets, and squares. Yes, squares! We have two! The Upper one is overlooked by the impressive parish church of Sant Joan Baptista. And the Lower one is not particularly overlooked by anything significant other than one of five bars and the pharmacy, essential items in a small town/large village community.
The town itself springs to life at the end of a gently winding road which, if you continued on your journey, would eventually climb steadily onwards and upwards to the Sanctuari de Santa Llúcia, offering a wonderful vista across the island from its lofty, parochial perch.
Peaceful and quiet it may be, but the local community is far from retired or boring. With literally no passing traffic, Mancor de la Vall is indeed by its geographical location alone, the very end of the line, with no constant caravan of passing traffic. Mancor is not somewhere you pass through, it’s a destination!
Being such a small, somewhat isolated township, you might think the local community is somewhat starved of culture and entertainment. Well you couldn’t be more wrong! To compensate for its ‘off the beaten track’ location, the entertainment and cultural committee specialize in creating their own endless programme of entertainment, with extensive and imaginative events rich in both traditional and contemporary activities. They just love their football and art, in that order, and encourage all forms of opportunity for self expression and life enriching pursuits at every turn. In fact, Mancor de la Vall probably holds more fiestas than other municipality in Majorca.
With their own personal fiestas celebrating everything from the humble snail through arts and crafts, olives, mushrooms and recently artisan beer, to almost anything else they can possibly think of, since 2014 Mancor has picked up on another island wide tradition – the Nit d l’Art (night of art) which it celebrated ‘with a twist’ on Saturday 28 September.
Notably being such a small municipality, the ‘art’ was a bit thin on the ground compared to some of the larger, more celebrated towns across the island who specialize and showcase their artistic prowess to the max. To compensate, the organizers rather cleverly switched up the vibe and turned the occasion into a cultural celebration to include all forms of ‘the arts’, creating an event that exhibited the entire village, with a passionate nod towards its much loved music. Local performers were given the opportunity to shine, with a programme of singers, guitarists, percussionists, a violin recital from the school of music led by Teresa Ripoll, and an interesting poetry recital to music.
Fifteen year old Joan Miquel Martorell, who taught himself to play the piano via the internet, gave an impressive performance with a short piano recital, showcasing some of the well known classics. Joan Miquel has recently been accepted by the Music Conservatory of Inca, where he will no doubt flourish and excel as a local talent.
Throughout the day there were displays to behold amidst various events, including a photographic exhibition and a showing of traditional Majorcan costumes. I absolutely loved a small exhibition of upcycled plastic bottles converted to decorative, whimsical plant holders – an amazing use of someone’s vibrant imagination.
In my opinion, one of the most innovative and interactive showpieces was created by the genius of a young ‘visionary’ who brought to the event a wonderful artisan carousel, with swing seats imaginatively and magically crafted from old oil drums, industrial junk and tubing etc. all psychedelically painted in vivid electric colours and powered by the creator himself on a bicycle which sent the local children screaming into a spinning orbit.
There were also highly inventive games and puzzles for the children, all constructed by the same craftsman, and welded together from old pots and pans, pram wheels and discarded bric-a-brac which miraculously evolved into an organic marriage of arcade games, robot wars and exploding art! Outstanding!!!
It was fascinating to watch young children discovering the co-ordination skills needed to guide a marble, using a hand controlled platform, through a simplistic maze ending with a satisfied ‘clunk’ when the glass ball fell into its home pocket. Such a basic challenge, yet so engaging and had children queuing and whooping with absolute joy. No sequence of digital bleeps or a soulless computerised reward, but a ‘real’ hands-on achievement at completing the course. The priceless and ultimate reward being the delight on the parents’ faces as they witnessed their children achieving and participating. And judging by the smiles on the children, who had never seen anything quite so basic or prehistoric before, these artistic, child-friendly games beat any solitary digital experience in a lonely bedroom hands down! It just goes to show that even today a little bit of art and imagination still goes a long way!
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