August starts in style in Vilagarcía de Arousa, since from the very first day of the month and over the following weeks this town celebrates the feast in honour of Saint Roch, with a program that includes different activities, music and a wide variety of events.
Another event that coincides with this religious feast is the Clam Festival, held in the parish of O Carril on the 18th and 19th of August.
The species of clams more cultivated in Spain are those popularly known in Galicia as rubia (Tapes rhomboideus), babosa (Tapes pullastra) and xapónica (Ruditapes philippinarum). Of these, the most popular species in Galicia is the rubia and the best-known recipe is "a la marinera" style.
Over the 500 years of history of the parish of O Carril, the locals have devoted their lives to the sea, to the seafood and the shellfish, cultivated or extracted from the sea. This art has been celebrated in the Clam Festival for more than two decades, after more than four centuries of experience. The festival is officially opened by a local association, which extols the virtues of the clam, known as Orde da Ameixa (Clam Order), on Sunday 20, at 11:30 am, at the cultural centre O Gato Negro; national and international associations attended this event. Later on, at 12:40 pm, the Orde da Ameixa appoints the damas (dames) and cabaleiros (knights) of 2017. This association grants the titles of Gran Mestre (great master), Gran Cultivador (great grower), Sembrador (sower) and Sanador (healer), who are the ambassadors of the local clam.
The activities start on Saturday, at 11:30 am, with the fireworks display, which gives way to the performance of Charanga Mekanica, a group of musicians marching through the streets. At noon, in A Liberdade Square, you can enjoy the parade of the xigantes (giants) and cabezudos (people wearing a big cardboard head): the papamoscas (simpleton), the rei (king), the raíña (queen), the black Maruxa and her boyfriend, and the enanito de las uvas (the grape's dwarf).
In the evening, at 6:30 pm, a boat race takes place. This is followed by the awaited 22nd Clam Cooking Competition, at 20:00 pm, where the first and second best dishes are awarded the Gold Clam and Silver Clam, respectively; and there are also prizes for the youngest participant and an honorary award. This event is enlivened by the music of the bagpipe band Airiños do Carril. Finally, at 9:30 pm, next to the port, there is a concert by Seangles.
On Sunday, the music bands Xirifeiros, Malveiras and Charanga Mekanika perform their music marching through the streets. Later, after the opening speech by the Orde da Ameixa, the clam tasting, the most awaited event, takes place from the early afternoon to the late evening. The programme concludes with the concert of the Galician music band París de Noia, next to the Compostela Beach, at midnight.
Wine lovers can also pair the clams with a good wine from O Salnés region, under the Designation of Origin Rías Baixas. This is a great event to honour the oldest living animal recorded so far, since recently in Iceland it was found a 507 year-old clam specimen, which, interestingly, it is the same age as the parish of O Carril.
What to see and do
There are plenty of things to see and do in the region, but if you prefer to stay in the town of Vilagarcía de Arousa you can visit the Cortegada Island, explore the castro (Pre-Roman settlement) de Alobre or admire the petroglyph Os Ballotes. You can also enjoy the Revenidas Festival, from Friday 18 to Sunday 20. The firework display by the sea, known as Naval Combat, held at midnight on the beaches of the town, is one of the most popular.
El sábado 19 y el domingo 20 de agosto se celebra en O Carril la XXV edición de esta fiesta gastronómica de As Rías Baixas que coincide con las Fiestas de San Roque de Vilagarcía de Arousa