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This Christmas, Formentera turns on holiday charm

foto rdp festes de nadalToday the Formentera Council unveiled its events programme accompanying this year's Christmas holiday season. It is a fairly long list of activities for kids and teens, replete with family-friendly stage productions and other fun happenings to ensure this Christmas on Formentera is one you won't forget.

The starting shot will ring out on Thursday, December 1 with a children's show called La Deixalleria presented by Té a Tres theatre company. The production, which takes over Marià Villangómez library at 6.00pm, won't be the only holiday fun that Formentera kids have to look forward to. Complete listings of Christmas 2016-17 activities can be found on posters around the island. Plus, back for another year, December 17 to 21, is Diverespai, which features inflatable toys and a variety of activities for children.

Christmas market
Friday, December 2, local vendors will come out for the first day of Formentera's 2016 Christmas market, el Mercat de Nadal. The holiday market, which will once again occupy Sant Francesc's plaça de la Constitució, is conceived as a gathering place during the holiday season and a way to fill out the Christmas shopping availability. On the first day, at 6.30pm, students of Mestre Lluís Andreu will be on hand to sing traditional carols and christen what will remain the island's go-to live music venue until January 6.

Musical performances at the Mercat will take place from 8.30 to 11.00pm on December 2, 6, 9, 17, 22 and 30 and January 5.

Kids' activities
December 18 and 28 and January 7 and 8, Formentera will host a selection of children's theatre productions to fill Christmastime with fun for the island's youngest. The first show of the now ten-year-old initiative is Volen Volen. Produced by the theatre company Mariantònia Oliver, Volen Volen has aspects of both dance and circus and depicts a world underpinned by celebration, childhood, adventure, fantasy, imagination, friendship, understanding and emotional bonds.

The series continues December 28 with Menorca's DOSNOUDOSMIL presenting Quina Pescada, a production for young and old alike. Jordi Pérez and Anselm Serra take the stage as clowns, Suli and Monyaco, in a piece of independent theatre that is both fun and participatory.

On January 7, young hearts will skip a beat with Tots iguals però diferents, a work of fabulous storytelling by David and Monma that is slated for the Marià Villangómez library.

Rounding out the winter children's theatre calendar is Teatre Mòbil's production of Cösmix. Scheduled for the municipal cinema on Sunday December 8, Cösmix showcases two indefatigable —not to mention strangely extravagant— travellers who would appear to have been born to get laughs. Like two one-man-bands, the pair has an impressive arsenal: impossible music, recyclassic theatre, animal buffoonery, and —best of all— they take us to the future, live and in the flesh.

Casal de Joves
The winter holidays are a grand occasion for island youth. This year they have the opportunity to see Christmas-themed documentaries, create a related mural and and take part in hands-on classes on everything from cookie baking to interior design.

Tradition will also be thick in the air this Christmas season. On December 8 the local school of music will host the 1st Cantada Pagesa, an evening of traditional song, and another regional choral favourite, Caramelles, will feature in local churches on Christmas Day and December 26.

An evening of concerts
A heavy-hitter on this year's holiday programme will happen December 16, when Projecte Mut performs in the festival tent on plaça de Sant Ferran. Local musicians Marí will open the show that evening and Strombers will close things down. The evening gets under way at 10.00pm.

Nativity and Father Christmas
December 17 at 5.30pm, the students of the Verge Miraculosa school will stage a Christmas nativity scene in the school's courtyard. Then, December 22, the children of the island have a visit from old Saint Nick to look forward to. Santa Claus will be at the Sant Ferran holiday tent from 5.30pm.

Evening entertainment
The evening of December 23, a local association dubbed the Three Kings will host activities, a barbecue and music at the festival tent erected for the holiday season. The entertainment programme will continue December 30 and 31 as well, Formentera's final send-off to 2016. December 30 at 10.00pm a local DJ will take to the turntables to get the crowd dancing. The last night of the year (technically one hour into January 1), six-person musical group The New Tremendos will ring in 2017 with a show marked by rollicking covers. Since 1993 they adhere to one basic rule: rock 'n' roll and partying, really wild partying.

The Three Wise Men pay Formentera kids a visit
As is tradition, Thursday January 5 at 4.30pm the Three Wise Men (“the Three Kings of the Orient” as they are more commonly known here) are expected at the harbour in la Savina. From there the entire cavalcade will set out on its tour of the island. At 5.30pm they're awaited at Sant Francesc's plaça de la Constitució, at 7.00pm in Sant Ferran, and at 8.00pm they will make the trek up to la Mola.

Group art show
From December 19 to January 7, a Christmas exhibition from a group of local artists will be on display, Monday through Saturday, 11.00am to 2.00pm and 5.00 to 7.00pm.

Award for best window display
As in years past, the chamber of commerce for Eivissa and Formentera is once again pairing with the Formentera Council to organise the 10th Annual Christmas Window-dressing Contest, push to promote festive Christmas decorations at local businesses.

Buy local
To drive Christmas shopping on the island, participating shops will be distributing raffle tickets for a chance to win 14 prizes, including a weekend for two on Eivissa (rental car and lodging included) from the Viatges es Freus travel agency; a €150 gift certificate at Majoral jewellers; a Christmas ham and bottle of wine from Carbonicas Tur; a sampling meal for two at Es Marès hotel and restaurant; an €80 voucher at Supermercat La Savina; a €50 voucher at Can Jeroni bakery; dinner for two at Restaurant Acapulco; a visit to Raquel's Hairspray salon in la Savina (a wash and cut or dye and styling); a piece from artist Sol Courregues; SHELAC nail treatment at BSC salon in la Savina; breakfast for four at Racó des Pa café; breakfast for two at the Antoni Blanc fitness centre café; a pack of four books; and four tickets for the Formentera cinema in 2017.

Formentera welcomes first round of local history seminars held away from Mallorca

molivellmola 2013The Formentera Council's Office of Patrimony has announced that on November 18 and 19 the centre for regional studies in the Balearics (IEB) will hold the first ever Jornades d'Estudis Històrics Locals away from its normal home base on Mallorca. The round of seminars, which focuses on recent research concerning local history, is hosted by the IEB and the Formentera Council and is part of a broader programme known as Novembre Folk. The talks, now their 34th year, will take place Friday and Saturday in the Council's plenary hall (sala de Plens) and the conference room of the CiF Office of Culture.

The project coordinator this year is Andreu Ramis, chair of the Balearic Islands' advisory council on popular and traditional culture. Growing concern for preserving intangible heritage in the archipelago has made certain issues —appropriately up-to-date ideas and policy framework— increasingly pressing. Using its time-tested model of conferences and publications by specialists and researchers, IEB (or Institut d'Estudis Baleàrics) has decided to use this year's programme to tackle intangible heritage from a land standpoint, split into four subsections.

First, participants will address the work of documenting, inventory making and cataloguing such intangible heritage. Jaume Mascaró of Institut Menorquí d'Estudis will speak about Menorca's intangible cultural heritage as an opportunity for what he calls “sociocultural dynamics”. Another seminar, by Joan Vallès of Universitat de Barcelona, will centre on the interrelation between plants and mankind, a field known as ethnobotany.

Language as an expression of heritage (understood as ethnopoetry and ethnoliterature) will also be discussed, in this case by Jaume Guiscafrè of Universitat de les Illes Balears. Guiscafrè will focus his discussion on folklore, ethnopoetry and the heritage process”. Finally, Josep Martí of Institut Milà i Fontanals and Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, will lead a seminar where underlying concepts of stagnation and transformation inform discussions of intangible heritage.

Crowning the lecture series, a round table talk also turning on the topic of stagnation and change will provide grounds for a debate between guest experts, public administration officials in Balears and Catalunya, lecturers and seminar attendees.

Heritage site visits
Participants are invited to take part in a visit of la Mola's landmark windmill, el molí Vell. For the twenty-plus individuals visiting from locations further afield, the Formentera Council has made accommodation available at Sant Francesc's Casa de Colònies.

All those interested in being a part of this free series can sign up before Tuesday November 15 by sending an email to publicacions@iebalearics.org.

Kids in the Pityuses get a chance to catch MARCEL GROS clowning it up in “La gran A...ventura”

marcel gros1With La gran A...ventura, the CiF Office of Culture stages an original, family-friendly production by Marcel Gros, a clown with rave reviews from crowds and critics alike. The show takes the stage at 5.30pm, Saturday November 12 at Formentera's municipal cinema, and Sunday at 6.00pm at the Palau de Congressos of Santa Eulària des Riu.

The production comes to the Pityuses via PLATEA, a 2014 programme of INAEM, Spain's education, culture and sport ministry's institute of performing arts and music, which aims to bring high-calibre national productions to Balearic audiences.

In La gran A...ventura (Història d'un Pallasso), Marcel Gros infuses his characteristically poetic vision with tones of humour as he takes us on a joyride through his own private universe. Top-class performances are given by a cast comprising a strip of aluminium foil, a trash bin, a spin atop a capital letter, a dress shirt, a mime, a fakir...The show is suitable for all ages.

Going back 35 years, Marcel Gros got his start as a founding member of Teatre Mòbil. In 1991, after receiving his clown and circus education at the hands of teachers Willi Colombaioni, Pierre Byland and Philippe Gaullier, Gros set out on a solo path of self-produced and absolutely unique stage productions that has earned him numerous accolades, including, for La Gran A...ventura, Castilla la Mancha's top prize for the stage. The production will now come to Formentera's municipal movie theatre and Eivissa's Palau de Congressos de Santa Eulària.

Tickets for the sixty-minute Formentera production go for six euros (the kids' rate; accompanying adults get in free) and will be available at the box office the day of performance. For Sunday's function, eight-euro entries can be purchased at Holidays on carrer Sant Jaume in Santa Eulària and at Holy Sport on avinguda Ignasi Wallis in Eivissa or for ten euros (the same day) at the Palau de Congressos box office.

La Mola lighthouse prepares to don veneer of cultural centre

foto ple setembre 2016At the Formentera Council's October plenary session, convened earlier today, the entire house backed a deal between the Balearic port authority (APB) and the Council on la Mola's trademark lighthouse, “el far de la Mola”. The plan, besides doting the monument with public facilities, envisions adding cultural space to the lighthouse's list of uses.

As culture and patrimony councillor Susana Labrador explained, the site will contain an interpretative centre for Formentera lighthouses, a museographic exhibition and a hall for culturally-themed, small-scale functions, which the administration speculates may spill over onto an outdoor patio. Currently the Council is drafting plans to remodel the building in its entirety. The project has a tentative pricetag of €600,000 and could be undertaken as soon as autumn 2017. The partnership, initially framed for 15 years, can be renewed to last another five. APB will retain control over parts of the lighthouse like the utilities room and its upper chambers to ensure continued functioning.

Unanimous consent was also received by the proposed rezoning for a municipal morgue, planned for the lot adjacent the Sant Francesc cemetery. Land councillor Alejandra Ferrer pointed out that the site's rezoning will make it possible to move ahead with a call for bids on the project. The councillor, who referred to a forthcoming pick of a winning bidder, assured that “the start of construction and the much-needed building itself“ are not far off. All parties in the plenary backed the measure and agreed on its importance for the island.

Ferry landing
Another proposal backed by the entire house dealt with the agreement to transfer the docking point for Eivissa-bound boats from Formentera. Council president Jaume Ferrer described the proposal as “making official our council's deal with the other administrations in relocating the Formentera boat landing at the Eivissa port, basing it on the terms of the September 28 board meeting with APB”.

Ferrer took the opportunity to salute the other branches of the public administration — Eivissa Council, Govern Balear, APB — as well as civil society organisations like On Sempre for defending the wishes of the people of Formentera.

Plenary members pledged to continue working from a position of unity “to make sure that the new harbour station furnishes all of the necessary services” for Formentera's residents and visitors.

Also adopted was a joint proposal put forth by Gent x Formentera and PSOE to overhaul a law on urban property rentals. The goal, explained Alejandra Ferrer, is to set limits and establish the definition of seasonal tourist rentals as “any dwelling that a property owner cedes, either directly or indirectly and on a repeated basis, to a third-party, in exchange for financial returns and for a period of 30 days or less”. If the criteria are met at least twice in one year, the property shall be subject to the regulations on tourist-use rentals. Properly documented temporary rentals for labourers are excluded from the measure.

Land and tourism
Appearing before plenary members, land and tourism councillor Ferrer detailed her departments' areas of action, invoking “a smart use of our natural resources and surroundings” and aspirations of “breaking with the pack in terms of quality”. She stressed the need to educate visitors about Formentera and push them on social and environmental responsibility.

Ferrer also reviewed the recent launch of the Council's new inspection unit. On urbanism she pointed to a continued push to apply and enforce the island's code of “subsidiary regulations”. Speaking on housing, the land councillor highlighted multiparty support —between Formentera, the office of housing in Balearics and the Govern in Palma— for a report documenting  local needs aimed at recalibrating help money and reimagining moves forward.

Local commerce and artisan crafts also featured heavily among the councillor's plans, and Ferrer described a brand of tourism “that centres on product and market diversification”. She underscored, lastly, the importance of “improving the pre- and post-summer season”.

Formentera to host country's first hands-on underwater metals course

foto curs metallsEarlier today in the conference hall of the CiF Office of Culture, patrimony councillor Susana Labrador took part in a presentation regarding the island's first practical course on subaquatic metals. The course —which will include hands-on work at a shipwreck site— will also be the first of its kind in Spain. For four days 16 experts in conservation and restoration will gather on Formentera to learn from the experiences of two high-profile experts in the field, Jean-Bernard Memet and Victòria Folgueira, about the latest techniques in treating metal objects in underwater environments.

The councillor of patrimony highlighted the importance of supporting initiatives like this one, saying “here on Formentera, it furthers the conservation of our heritage”. The course, both theory-based and practical, is organised by the Formentera Council and the Balearic institute of maritime archaeology (IBEAM), with additional support from the archaeological museum of Eivissa and Formentera and Trasmapi transport company. Undersea archaeologist Javier Rodríguez was a supporter of the event.

One year ago the Formentera Council and IBEAM signed a deal to draw up an underwater archaeological map that would not only help get the word out about the island's subaquatic patrimony, but also help conserve it. The five-year agreement sets out €2,000 in funding for researchers during each cycle. The archaeological map that is produced will ultimately become property of the Formentera Council.

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Música de les Illes Balears

Xarxa de Biblioteques

Institut d'Estudis Baleàrics

Enciclopèdia d'Eivissa i Formentera