One more year the festivities of the Bonfires of San Juan attended their inexcusable appointment with the city. From May 22, when the program of celebrations and Las Meigas had been presented to the media, until June 24, acts and more acts took place that would lead to the magical Night of San Juan with the burning of the artistic bonfire-allegorical.
In the restaurant Os Arcados Playa Club, the Promoting Commission of the Bonfires of San Juan presented to the news media the program of celebrations, poster, magazine and its Meiga Mayor and Honor in the course of an act that would end with a toast in honor of the new Meigas.
The president of the Hogueras de San Juan highlighted the very popular and free nature of all the festivities of the Hogueras 87 program and was pleased that each year that passed, there were more thousands of citizens who accompanied the Meigas in the burning of the Bonfire located between the squares of Calvo Sotelo and Portugal, becoming in its own right the quintessential party for the entry of summer in A Coruña.
Sports Week was, one more year, faithful to its appointment with the city’s women’s school sport. Women’s basketball, handball, and volleyball teams from various educational centers gathered at the municipal sports courts of Riazor, and the San Juan trophies, in the category of Skate Hockey and Weightlifting, also played.
The closing events were once again very colorful with the performance of the Fencing team of the Galician Federation and the dances of the folk groups of the Hijas de Cristo Rey and Enrique Salgado Torres Schools. In the end the Meiga Mayor gave the San Juan trophy to the points.
The Hogueras 87 Theater, Music and Dance Days were inaugurated with a concert by the Municipal Band that took place in Recife Square.
The following days the program was dedicated to theater with the performance, in the auditorium of the Provincial Delegation of Culture of the Xunta de Galicia, of the theater groups of the Salesianos and Santo Domingo de La Coruña schools, Badius de Bayo Association and Elviña Institute of La Coruña, and staged the works “Atlantis 87”, “La Tetera”, “O sick of neura” and “Meneachmi”, being followed by a large audience that rewarded with great applause to the participating groups that received a souvenir from the hands of the Meiga Mayor.
In the concert hall of the Municipal Palace, within the program Hogueras 87, a concert by the Municipal Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Rogelio Groba, who performed the Brandenburg concert by J. Sebastian Bach and the symphony opus 73 “ The Hunt for Haydn ”. The brilliant performance of the orchestra was followed by a large number of people who filled the municipal hall with their presence.
The Meiga Mayor de las Hogueras, Sandra Fernández Portas, and her Meigas de Honor, were received at the Municipal Palace by the mayor of the city Francisco Vázquez who during the reception highlighted the tradition of the Bonfire festival, as well as its meaning that he considered a magnificent occasion to strengthen the bonds of friendship.
For his part, the president of the Bonfire Commission, José Eugenio Fernández, took advantage of the event to congratulate the mayor on his electoral success, while requesting more help for the promotion of Bonfires, highlighting that that year the allegorical bonfire it had been built in Valencia by the fallero artist Enrique Burrriel Morro.
The allegorical bonfire measured around twelve meters, topped by a large head that represented power and whose base represented various allegorical motifs to national and local life. The coat of arms of La Coruña and two huge faces, one smiling and the other sad, also stood out, which, according to the artist’s words, represented “the comical and the tragic of everyday life.” The artist Enrique Burriel had received several awards for his work In 1982 he won the absolute prize for the best ninot.With that allegorical failure, the organization of the Coruña Bonfires took a great leap forward by making an enormous effort to enhance the magical Night of San Juan in that extraordinary way.
That year the Bonfires program lit a new birth, that of the days of Folklore on the Street that lasted for June 20, 21, and 22 and which consisted of the fact that, in different squares and streets in the center of the city, numerous folkloric groups showed the public, who gathered in large numbers, various pieces of Galician folklore. The success was complete.
The eve of San Juan opened in the early hours of the morning with the happy parades of the Music Bands of Vilatuxe and Santa Cruz de Rivadulla, as well as the folk groups from the Enrique Salgado Torres School and the Cabezudos troupe that toured various streets of the city to later concentrate on the Plaza de Recife from where the entourage of the Meiga Mayor and her Meigas de honor departed, dressed in the classic Spanish mantilla, escorted by period soldiers, who went to the Church of San Francisco to celebrate the Holy Mass offering to San Juan, where the Meigas and the President of the Promoting Commission presented their annual offering to the Holy Precursor.
In the middle of the afternoon the music bands from Vilatuxe, Santa Cruz de Rivadulla; those of bugles and drums of the Spanish Youth Organization of La Coruña and of Juventud Coruñesa; the band of bagpipes and drums of the Group of Explorers of El Ferrol; Maianca’s majorettes; the folkloric groups of Salgado Torres, Cristo Rey, Santa Cruz de Lians Karbo, Xerbolar and Aturuxo de Cecebre and the group of Cabezudos were concentrated in various parts of the city and by different itineraries, they came to the Plaza de María Pita where it was held a music festival.
When the clock of the municipal palace showed eight in the afternoon, all the participating bands, together with the typical carts of the country adorned with flowers, where the Meiga Mayor and her Meigas de honor were escorted by thirty-three soldiers dressed in uniforms of the Spanish army of the 17th century, began the first part of the Cavalcade of San Juan that traveled through several streets of the city to the platforms of Riazor, where the 17th Poetic Coven Party would be held at the Playa club restaurant.
It was nine o’clock at night on June 23, when the Meiga Mayor de las Hogueras de San Juan 1987 entered the main room of the Os Arcados Playa club restaurant, Miss Sandra Fernández Portas, who was being held by the First Lieutenant of Acting Mayor of the Hon. La Coruña City Council and president of the Advisory Board of the San Juan Bonfire Promotion Commission, José González Dopeso.
She was followed by the Meigas of honor Carmen Fernández Portas, Gloria Vázquez Portas, Carmen Moratiel Astiarraga, Marían del Río Trillo, Judith Fernández López, Guadalupe Cobas Fraiz, Marta Ferreiro Suárez, and Teresa Rubio Sánchez del Valle, who were given the arm of the town crier. the party and other members of the board of directors.
Once the bars of the Coronation march stopped, the first Deputy Mayor in office of the Hon. City Council of La Coruña and President of the Advisory Board of the San Juan Bonfires Promoter Commission, José González Dopeso, imposed the accrediting band of eighteenth Meiga Mayor, to the young woman from A Coruña, Sandra Fernández Portas, who was studying for free 8th EGB According to his own words, “the classes at the Esclavas school where he studied overwhelmed him” and he preferred to have a teacher at home to prepare him for the final exams.
Sandra had acceded to the position of Meiga Mayor, due to the resignation of the young Eva Jimenez Aneiros, who had been presented in February during the Festa Da Danza Das Meigas as XVIII Meiga Mayor.
Once entertained, both the Meiga Mayor and their Meigas de honor, with flowers and various gifts, the host and presenter of the party, the president of the Promoting Commission of the Bonfires of San Juan, José Eugenio Fernández Barallobre, gave the floor to journalist Manuel Rodriguez Maneiro, also a member of the Advisory Board of the bonfires of San Juan, who read a work entitled: “The woman from A Coruña, eternally feminine”, which he dedicated to the Meiga Mayor and her Meigas de honor amid great applause.
Next, the Greater Meiga gave the poet Santiago Romero de Ávila, the silver thistle of poetry in the Spanish language whose cash prize amounted to 90,000 pesetas, for her work “Noche de San Juan, Noche de fuego”. One of the most endearing moments of that 1987 coven party was the moment when the Meiga Mayor Sandra Fernández Portas, among the great applause of the public present, who completely filled the Os Arcados room, imposed the silver thistle, Maximum distinction, at that time, granted by the Commission promoting the Bonfires, to Estrella Pardo Castiñeiras, first Major Friend of the Bonfires of San Juan, proclaimed in 1970.
After the delivery of the San Juan 87 awards by the Meiga Mayor, the finishing touch to the party, the proclamation of the Night of San Juan, was put that year by the journalist Roberto Luis Moskowich Spiegel-Pan.
In his dissertation, the town crier recalled his childhood beginnings in the cult of fire. “How many old things have I burned my mother in the bonfires of San Juan! I remember some beautiful low armchairs called” footwear “, as well as an artistic umbrella-hanging cabinet with a mirror and everything; Moorish-style seats or the like. dislikes and what annoyance for burning such family “relics”! But what a good time I had watching the flames of the bonfire rise “up to heaven”, which made my youthful fantasy fly even more. Oh, how many loves were born around the Bonfires of San Juan! How many will be born on this enchanting night? Soon enough for the traditional and magical fire to settle in our beloved and adored city of La Coruña, which already anticipated the vital fire of these authentic beauties that are Sandra Patricia Fernández Portas and her friends of Honor “.
At the end of her proclamation, amidst the applause of the public, the Meiga Mayor presented Roberto Moskowich with a souvenir of those 87 Bonfires. With this, she finished off the Coven Party, which continued with a gala dinner. While the Meigas, authorities and family began the gala dinner, specifically in the Plaza de Portugal, the Riazor orchestra began the festival of the Night of San Juan. In the streets near the Riazor platform, Fernando Macias, Alfredo Vicenti and adjacent streets, the bands of music, horns and drums, as well as folk groups performed their musical parades.
At 11:30 p.m. from the Riazor platform, the second part of the parade started where the Meiga Mayor and her Meigas de Honor participated, riding the typical cars of the country, which would ultimately be the last year they would participate in a mm da Queima, thus closing a chapter that had begun in 1971. Along with them the Santa Cruz de Rivadulla music band, the Cornet and drum bands of the Spanish Youth Organization, the Coruñesa Youth, the bagpipe and drum band of the Grupo de explorers from El Ferrol and escort from Las Meigas, dressed in period uniforms of the 17th century Spanish Army.
After traveling several streets, the cavalcade of San Juan 87 ended in crowded squares of Calvo Sotelo and Portugal, where there was no room for another soul, thus beginning the final apotheosis of “A Noite da Queima” with the shooting by the Rocha de Soñeiro pyrotechnics, from a magnificent collection of fireworks.
Then the Meiga Mayor Sandra Fernández Portas would light from the top of the steps of the Colegio de la Compañía de María, the wick that would make it possible for the fire to devour in a few minutes the cardboard stone and wood monument entitled “The comic and the tragic that we have had to live “the work of Valencian Enrique Burriel and which had cost the organization a million pesetas.
As the culmination of such a magical night, the Os Arcados restaurant held the gala dance of the Night of San Juan and in the Plaza de Portugal the performance of the Riazor orchestra continued until three in the morning.
The Bonfires of San Juan de La Coruña, despite their economic problems, since they were running a deficit of one million pesetas, continued to be exceeded year after year. It was undoubtedly a complicated and titanic undertaking within the reach of only a handful of romantics from A Coruña unavailable to discouragement and lack of money! How many would have thrown in the towel!
Calin Fernández Barallobre.