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August is party time in Madrid: festivals and fairs

The traditions of Madrid cannot be fully understood unless you get to know its famous festivals. August is the perfect month for this as there are three festivals that are celebrated in the centre and surrounding districts. Earlier this month, the following neighbourhoods held the biggest and most important celebrations: San Cayetano, in Embajadores and Rastro, San Lorenzo, representing the district of Lavapiés and Paloma, in various Latin areas.

The festival of San Cayetano begins the first day of August. The celebrations take place around the parish church dedicated to this saint, which is located in Embajadores Street. It is celebrated with typical costumes or chisperos and the streets are decorated with coloured paper, hanging typical Manton shawls on the balconies.

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The festival's activities include the popular lemonade tastings and reenacting the historical parade. There are also mus and rana card game tournaments as well as various chotis dancing performances. A large water balloon fight will take place on 4th August before the procession puts an end to San Cayetano festival on 7th August.

The second part of this festival takes place in San Lorenzo. The main street is called Argumosa and on the opposite side, Lavapiés is situated. The celebrations start on August 5th until the 10th, commemorating the feast of San Lorenzo. Lots of ornaments and street animations will be seen in the neighbouring district.

The highlight of this festival is the Ruta de la Tapa "Slow Food" which is a tapas tour organised by some bars and restaurants in the area as well as the charity campaign "Dales de comer y te damos de beber". The activities are varied, from school plays to balloon fights, DJs, tombola, football championships, and live music concerts in Cascorro Plaza. The San Lorenzo Festival ends on 10th August.

Finally, the most important festival, Verbena de la Paloma puts an end to August celebrations in Madrid. This emblematic Madrid festival unfolds between 11th and 15th August, at the centre of Plaza de las Vistillas. Chotis and pasodobles dancing, as well as DJs in major concerts, with musicians like Raimundo Amador and Mártires del Compás, will be this year's musical offerings. Other activities will take place in a festive atmosphere in which lots of ornaments adorn streets and courtyards, while outdoor bars welcome everyone for drinks. The big day is on August 15th when the festivities of the Virgen de la Paloma are celebrated. The processions start from the church next to Puerta de Toledo.

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