by Irene Taylor
THE Simpsons, Merlin the Magician and Mozart will be the stars of the St Sebastian fiestas in Palma, in a programme which includes no fewer than 367 events and has cost the council more than 760'000 euros. The Simpsons will set the ball rolling with a colourful parade starting at the Plaza España at around 11am tomorrow and going along the Calle San Miguel, Plaza Mayor and Colom to the Plaza Cort, where the fiestas will officially be opened. But not before Merlin the Magician has put in an appearance in the Square at about 11.30am.
Mozart will be featured on Friday the 27th, the 250th anniversary of his birth, when various groups will perform works in different parts of the city. This is one of the novelties of this year's programme. Another novelty will be the final of the first Sudoku tournament, at S'Escorxador. Forty-two people have reached the final of this event, which looks set to becoming a regular feature. This Sunday will see Majorcan dancing, featuring several local groups, in Ses Voltes in the Parc de la Mar.
The park beneath the Cathedral will also be the setting for the exhibition of vintage cars and motorbikes, on Sunday.
The first of the major pop concerts will be held in the Plaza Mayor tomorrow, with Los Ilegales topping the bill, but the big night for music lovers is, of course, Thursday, when there will be free concerts in the main squares. Each square will host a different kind of music, from pop and rock to flamenco.
The evening will start at 7.30pm when the Mayor of Palma Catalina Cirer lights the bonfire in the Plaza España.
There will be bonfires in many parts of the city, used as barbecues - more than 60 according to the city council. Most people buy a packet of barbecue goodies including sausages such as longaniza from the supermarket and take it along.
The same is true for the bonfires which will be held on Monday, as part of the St Anthony fiestas.
The fiestas will end, as usual, with an Aiguafoc a magnificent fireworks display held in the Bay of Palma.
The council has been criticised on two accounts for this programme: for choosing the Simpsons instead of the traditional Majorcan figures with giant papier maché heads, and for the poster advertising the events, which shows a piece of longaniza sausage attached to a piece of bread by three toothpicks (traditional paintings of St Sebastian show him tied to a post, his body pierced by arrows).


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