“Two years without Pamplona was very, very bad,” he said to the Associated Press in Spanish. “How lucky to be with friends here this year in Pamplona. Fabulous. Hopefully next year there will be no more COVID.”
The city of Pamplona’s population is close to 200,000, but San Fermín brings nearly 1,000,000 people to the Spanish city. Many attendees have the festival on their bucket list.
“It´s amazing atmosphere, amazing people, amazing opportunity to celebrate. We love it here,” said 21-year-old Harvey Miller, of Philadelphia, who was making his first trip with his sisters, Ashlei, 30, and Kayla, 23.
“I think people are trying to make up for lost time because two years off, that’s a while,” Miller said. “So, everyone is going extra hard this time around and the festival is bigger and better than ever.”
The festival reunited friends and families from all over. Martín Chozas, 76, from Spain attended the festival for the first time and plans to stay “as long as the body puts up with it.”
¨This is like going to heaven,” said Chozas.
The highlight of the festival is the bull run in the morning where hundreds of people, mostly men test their strength and agility along a 956-yard route to Pamplona’s bullring. The bulls are later killed by professional bullfighters.
In addition, attendees enjoy a number of restaurants and tapas bars, spontaneous parties and shows for children to go to.
While the bulls do not attack unless provoked, goring is a possibility. In the seven runs that have occurred thus far, there have been four reported gorings. Goring is something that attendees embrace, but hope they do not happen.
Eight people were gored during the last festival in 2019. Sixteen people have died in the bull run since 1910. The last death was in 2009. The Spanish Red Cross medics are on the scene to quickly respond to any injuries that occur during the bull run.
Prior to the pandemic, the festival was suspended during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s.