A fair that dates back to when kings and queens ruled over Portugal.
May is the month set aside to celebrate Leiria and its people.
The history of Leiria Fair is part of the material and physical heritage of all those who have contributed to making this initiative the largest event in the municipality.
The Foral Charter issued by King Afonso I of Portugal originated what is now known as Leiria Fair, dating all the way back to 1142.
However, Leiria was only granted a letter allowing for an annual fair to take place in 1295, when King Denis ruled the country.
The inauguration of the town’s railway in 1928 led to the Leiria annual fair becoming even more popular, and therefore growing in size and importance.
Rodrigues Lobo Square, 5 de Outubro Square and Rua de Santana, in the Anjos neighbourhood, were only a few of the locations where fairs and Markets were held, becoming meeting points for the entire population.
Leiria Fair still takes place in the Tenente Coronel Jaime Tomaz da Fonseca park (better known today as Parque do Avião – Aeroplane Park) extending onto the land next to Leiria Municipal Stadium.
Up until 1964, the fair took place in March, after which it began being held in May due to March being a much rainier month.
Leiria Fair is a key event in the municipality’s events calendar, uniting the local population and bringing thousands of visitors to the city annually for an event with a bit of everything, from entertainment and concerts to cuisine and crafts, among other activities.
A recipe for success is always followed, but there’s always room for new ingredients to be added, making this huge party an ever-richer affair, year after year.
2018 marked the beginning of a new phase for the Fair, in which its image was renewed, and new focal points established, a highlight having been the Roger Hodgson concert in 2019, vocalist of the well-known British band Supertramp.
In 2020, the event was canceled following the restrictions under the COVID-19 pandemic, and in 2021 it got a more digital version, but 2022 is expected to be the year of the big comeback.