The Estudi Zero pulled out all the stops to make the official pronouncement of the start of the city's San Sebastian fiestas one of the best ever. They reminded everyone that St Sebastian protects the city “from hunger, plague and war, and from all other ills” and that everyone was invited to take part in the fiestas which continue until January 28. The invitation was repeated in the speech by Mayor Joan Fageda, who called on people to be tolerant and show respect. The fiesta is for everyone and the council spent several months working on the programme which includes music, dancing, bonfires, poetry readings and the St Anthony animal parade. The biggest event will be held on Friday night when there will be free concerts in the main squares of the city, such as Plaza Mayor, where The Christians can be seen, Plaza Cort, San Francisco, Santa Eulalia and Olivar. On the 20th, the Mayor said, there will be the cycle ride which attracts more people every year, and a firework display over the bay, as well as the presentation of the City of Palma prizes for novels, poetry and painting. The Mayor ended by saying “I sincerely invite all residents and visitors to Palma to join in and make the most of the fiestas, to visit the city's streets and squares which have a lot to offer. St Anthony and St Sebastian only come once a year and we cannot let them go by without paying attention to them.” The morning parade was a brilliant affair, although rain put a damper on events held in the Plaza Olivar in the afternoon. Interest was added to events by groups from Barcelona, who brought over some of their mythical figures, to add to the impact made by the new ones which now form part of Palma's patrimony. The human towers put on a display and there were various groups of dancers of all ages. There were also giants, including the two which are normally resident inside the city hall, but who were brought out into the street for the occasion. The town hall drummers, in their gala uniforms, also added to the atmosphere. But all eyes were on the Bestiari, the huge figures of mythical and symbolic animals, seen in Palma for the first time.


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