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The First Cider of the Year Festival starts

The presentation took place at the Casa de la Palmera, in Xixon.

LA SIDRA.- The presentation of the First Cider of the Year Festival was held yesterday at 12.30 in the Casa de la Palmera (Palm-Tree House). It was conducted by Carme Perez, from Asturies XXI Foundation, the event organizer; Jesus Martinez Salvador, Xixon’s Tourism Councillor; and Falo Nosti, in charge of the workshops and traditional sports which will take place throughout the event.

In the words of Jesus Salvador, cider is a tourism cornerstone in Xixon, a main axe to spread the Asturian culture. And the First Cider of the Year becomes the first cider event in town, coinciding with the Holy Week celebrations, so that visitors in Xixon can enjoy cider.

Declared as a festival with social roots by the Council, it is considered the largest “espicha” (convivial meal”) both for the amount of participating cidermills, more than seventy, as for attending people, more than 15,000 last year.

Both Xixon Council and Divertia consider gastronomy tourism of great importance and they place emphasis on the cider culture promotion. In this case, they try to recover the new, non-decanted cider, with the aim of being shared by the general public.

Carme Perez explained the activities programme which will be carried out at the Muséu del Pueblu d’Asturies (Asturies Village Museum) along the four days the festival lasts, from the 29th March to 1st April:

The presentation will be conducted by the legendary Tino “el Roxu”, who will show his peculiar way of pouring cider.

On Friday, the cider procession Sidracrucis will roam Xixon streets stopping at nine cider bars, the Muséu del Pueblu d’Asturies and three cidermills in town.

On Friday and Saturday there will be the ninth edition of the Asturianada y Sidre (Asturian traditional cider songs), where junior singers, especially children, will show their skills for this kind of songs.

Likewise, on Sunday the seventh Homemade Cider Made in Wooden Barrels Contest will be in progress.

This year’s edition will include important novelties, which will be added to last year’s, like the pets’ zone, the tasting of sweet and alcohol-free cider or the free entry for those who reached the venue by bike.

Thus, this year we will offer multilingual information in French, English, Italian and Portuguese; vegetarian menu; children’s marquee; tastings and pairings with different ciders from foreign countries; cardiac-protected area, with defibrillator and trained professionals to assist the attendants in case of need; cider bars town plan; and the motto: “Drink sensibly. It is our culture. It is your responsability”.

Eventually, Falo Nosti talked about the traditional sports that will take place thoughout the festival, such as the key game, Asturian bowling, the frog game, tug-of-war or sack races. There will also be a scythe sharpening exhibition and children will have the chance to make a basket and press apples with a mallet to make cider they will be able to drink afterwards.

The event official cider will be Sidra Riestra, winner at the First Cider of the Year Contest which took place last Saturday, 17th March.

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Born in Xixón, Asturies, in 1973, I studied English Philology at the Universities of Oviedo and Bradford (UK). I've worked as an English teacher, guide, interpreter and translator. I'm very keen on cider and good cuisine. Follow me on the website

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