José Antonio López Vilariño, representative of the SCRD San Xoán de Piñeiro

'The most beautiful detail is the party that is organized during the preparation and then in the tent, collaborating with the other societies that we consider as a holiday..'

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E: Please, introduce your association to us.

Jose Antonio: We are of one of the villages of the Council. Our most important activity is one popular marathon, we are in the circuit of the Regional Government, which is quite important as for the province of Coruña, but have also cultural activities. Our goal is to make people join, both youth and seniors, to do cultural sports activities... of every type. Winters in Galicia are very long and people need to be united.

E: What do you think is most beautiful about participating in the Festival?

JA: The nicest thing is that it makes many people participate in society. Among some reasons or others about 30 people from society participate in the preparation and elaboration, although there are other people who help in other ways in the party. The most beautiful detail is the party that is organized during the preparation and then in the tent, collaborating with the other societies that we consider as a holiday. We have even more people who can’t come, who like the octopus party.

E: Since when do you take part?

JA: We have been participating for nine years.

E: Why do you choose to collaborate?

JA: One reason is the collaboration between the association and the City Council. The City Council gives us a helping hand financially and we offer our collaboration in the work, in the elaboration and in all the things that are necessary for the best result of the Festival.

E: Any memories worth telling?

JA: The most beautiful thing I see at the Octopus Festival unlike other gastronomic celebrations are the gangs that exist with the songs of all kinds, the charangas, the bagpipes groups... That for me enhances the party, gives it a different touch compared to other gastronomic events.

E: Those are the 'peñas', are they not?

JA: Indeed. 'Peñas' do a lot of activities, that makes this party different from others. They get together just for the party. They have a series of competitions and activities of all kinds: wheelbarrow races, sack races ... As they develop throughout the week and the day of the Octopus are in the tent with their chants and with their party. I don’t think you see that in any other gastronomic party of this kind.

E: What do you think the Octopus Festival means to Mugardos?

JA: Here in Mugardos it is the flagship of the town hall. It projects the image of the municipality at the level of both Galicia and Spain. The monuments that Mugardos has: batteries, Castle of La Palma, the Estuary ... can be promoted and valued indirectly with the claim of the Octopus Festival although now they are not much in value.

E: Do you notice the influx of visitors on those days?

JA: All the people who spend the summer in this area come by... also people from Castilla, from Madrid ...

E: Do you see any strong points in the Festival?

JA: I would highlight the immediacy of the service, vain to other parties and you have to wait for huge queues. The eight associations give service immediately. Others are in vain and you have to stand in horrible lines for hours of waiting ... Although we are many people from many associations, we are well organized.

E: Do you have any other memories of this celebration?

JA: We are only 9 years old, the memories would be more than those who started that had to go through very badly: there were no tents ... I had come twice when they made it in the Mouse and it was completely different

E: Where was it placed?

JA: It started in the Estuary, then it was in the Canton of Cora (The Ratón)...

E: Sell us the Octopus Festival of Mugardos.

JA: People need to come, first by the location where the tent has a panoramic view over the Ria de Ferrol impressive. Secondly, and very important, the car parks: very important for all the people who come by car. At other parties people have to park the kilometers and sometimes for these reasons they leave without eating.

E: Where are the parking lots?

JA: They are almost 200-300 m from the carp. Another reason to come is the quality of the octopus that is off the charts. I think Spain is the only place in the world, with the exception of the Japanese, where people cook. I don’t know if there will be more people who do it. Another reason to come is the festive atmosphere that you breathe from the morning until the party ends.