54th Malta Trade Fair (23 June – 3 July) – what it’s all about…
Ever since I was a child, I always looked forward to the annual Malta Trade Fair held every summer. Not that I was into buying washing machines at age five! I was simply in awe of all the hustle and bustle going on during the long evenings at the fair.
I was spoilt for choice so much grabbed my attention: the food stalls (in particular those selling ice-cream), the book sections, the odd attraction for kids and the foreign country pavilions. And there was always a section for agriculture and fishing where I’d be able to see live animals too (which I’d obviously drag my poor parents along to).
For as long as I can remember, the Malta Trade Fair has been designed to have something to interest everyone – which is why it draws the crowds year after year. For many, it’s an evening out for all the family. For others, it’s a chance to get a good bargain since many companies offer special discounts on their products for the duration of the fair. Whether you want to buy or just browse, immersing yourself into this annual event is as Maltese an activity as you could possibly attend on a warm summer’s night. Strange, but true, it is entertainment and leisure for a lot of folk here!
Of course, the crowds descending on one pressure point on the islands means traffic and chaos – which might put off some, but doesn’t seem to put off the vast number of people who flock to the fair – over 100,000 are said to visit every year.
When & Where?
The 2011 Malta Trade Fair runs for 12 days, 23 June – 3 July, at Maltese International Trade Fair Grounds in Ta’ Qali (between Attard and Mdina, in the centre of Malta). The event is the highlight of the calendar of the Malta Trade Fairs Corporation which was set up in 1955.
Those who have difficulty in reaching Ta’ Qali by car can use old bus public transport services to Ta’ Qali on the Mdina Road. But even more conveniently, Malta Trade Fair’s Corporation (MFCC) is laying on special coach and bus services from several areas direct to the ground. Full details here for routes, times and pricing.
With the bus changeover to Arriva services on 1 July, we’re not sure about the special routing by Arriva, or exact timetables, but see here for bus stops and mainline routes. There seems to be a ‘night bus’ to Ta Qali.
There is also a shuttle service from all Ta’Qali parking areas to MFCC, for those who come in their private car.
What you’ll find there
The over 200 stands are not limited to Maltese companies exhibiting goods ranging from cars to dishwashers and from IT products to poultry. Every year, a number of countries set up their own pavilion to promote their country and products – bringing a touch of exotic far away (and some not so far away) lands to little Malta. This year, India’s large stand will bring a taste of Asia to the proceedings with Indian products including food, textiles and jewellery.
For kiddy-family fun, there’s a Luna Park, with rides, big wheel and more.
Voluntary sector – each day of the fair see a participating voluntary groups ranging from sports to youth groups, the Red Cross and various health and welfare associations and charities.
To go, or not to go, that’s the question!
Whether you’re chasing a bargain or trying to befriend an affable pony or simply out to guzzle ice-cream as the crowds swarm by, expect a quarter of the Maltese population to be there with you on the long hot evening you head there. Buying, browsing or battling the crowd, you’ve got to go once to see an anthropological event.
Malta Trade Fairs website
23 June – 3 July, 2011.
Opening Times: 18.30 – 23.00 Mon-Thurs; 18.30 – 23.30 Fri, Sat & Sun. 23 June – 3 July
Entrance Fee: €3
Photo: Ilias @ The Voyager