Siggiewi’s now annual agricultural fare kicks off on tonight, Saturday 12 June, at dusk and runs till late morning on Sunday. It seems to get bigger (and better) each year, and far more marketing goes into the event – islanders in central Malta have no doubt caught a billboard or two roadside.
It’s a wonderful, easy-going mishmash of a livestock show, heritage event and farmers’ market – and an excuse for local folk to get some air on summer night and have somewhere to go. It’s a prelude to the villlage festa, just two weeks away. Siggiewi’s unusually large, sloping and picturesque village piazza is already decked out with festa regalia. It’s heart-warming that Malta is beginning to relish its rural past, and to see skills, crafts and genuine Maltese produce appreciated by young and old, and locals and visitors alike. There are several rural events now, including the Mgarr’s Strawberry Fair, and Dingli’s Sheep & Goat festival.
What to Expect
Based on last year’s event. you can expect some: Pageantry: we had a reenactment of the Grand Master handing over a falcon to Holy Roman Emperor Charles V as rental payment for the Maltese Islands.
Working machinery: Pride of place last year in the square was an ancient threshing machine that rattled and hummed into action, man atop loading straw, and was soon spewing out chaff all over the gathered crowd.
Artefacts of yesteryear: a small tent was set up last year housing old agricultural implements and canteen items that farmers would use in the fields to brew up coffee. In fact, you could see the brewing in action as nearby sat an old lady, in typical floral dress/apron, turning a coffee bean roaster over an open fire (see photo below). A stall next to her was serving the clove-flavoured coffee for free to an appreciative, and curious crowd.
Livestock: Falabella ponies, donkeys, prize sheep and goat breeds, some with their young, and a lama in pens which enthrall the kids. Sunday morning early is the ‘blessing’ of the animals and Sunday too saw some heavy horses on display.
Local Produce: both evening and morning saw stallholders selling some genuine local produce, including thyme honey, certified organic olive oil (impressively with an EU accreditation on it) and lots of peaches and tomatoes, which grow well in the Siggiewi area.