At 12 noons on the 6th of July the square in front of the Ayuntamiento (the Town Hall) everyone waits for that first rocket to be set off to announce the commencement of the beginning of the Fiesta. Previous to the firing of the rocket there are thousands of people packed into the square, waiting for that rocket blast.

Just before the rocket goes off the Mayor comes out onto the balcony at the Ayuntimiento to greet the thousands of people gathered in the square below. The excitement has been building in the square below for several hours. A large food fight takes place, the throwing of eggs( you can see the stains on the wall from years past on the front of the building encompassing the square). At the time the Mayor comes out, hundreds if not thousands of bottles of champagne are uncorked and sprayed over the crowd crammed into the square by the people in the square.

After the first rocket is fired the cheering crowd takes their red scarves and tie them around their necks, and a city official shouts “Pamploneses Viva San Fermin, Gora San Fermin” (citizens of Pamplona Long live San Fermin) All over the city the madness has taken hold and thousands of bottles of champagne, and sangria are guzzled down and the non stop 206 hours of party is under way.

Here are a few tips and facts about the Chupinazo that you should know:
1- You must wear good sturdy closed toe shoes(NO SANDALS). There is broken glass all over the ground and the last thing you want to do is get a foot full of stitches, especially if you are wanting to run.
2- This is NOT a place for children or older people. Once you are in the square there is no getting out and the crowd does a lot of pushing and shoving.
3- Wear clothes that you don’t care about because you will come out covered with eggs, mustard, catsup, champagne, water, flour, and anything else someone thinks to bring. (You’ll smell very bad by the time you get out)
4- 4 It gets very hot in there from either the temperatures of the day, but mostly from the body heat of all the people packed into the square.
5- 5 If you are at all bothered by crowds STAY OUT of this activity. I did this a few years ago and it scared me so badly that the thought of having to go in there starts to give me a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.
6- If you wish to see this ceremony, and do not want to get into the crushing crowd, ask me about finding you a balcony to watch from.
7- If you are wanting to have some ammunition for the food fight get this prior to entering the square. You will find people selling eggs, flour, condiments etc. around Plaza Castillo.
8- There is a lot of the crowd pushing and swaying, and there is no way to control this and you will have to go with the crowd, don’t panic and just remember that soon everyone will be leaving the square to find more to drink.
9- Cameras if you must bring one make sure it is in a waterproof bag or one of the disposable waterproof ones. Don’t take your $400 camera into this madness, you’ll regret it.
10- You don’t wear your red scarf until after the first rocket has sounded.

Viva San Fermin! Gora San Fermin!