Project Partners: Junta Fallera de Valencia, Lancaster University Department of European Cultures & Languages, The Gregson Community Centre, Gibsons Garden Machinery, Lancaster Arts Partners.

In 2016 we worked closely with the Junta Fallera de Valencia (Falla organising committee in Spain) and commissioned artist Mario Gual del Olmo to create the first Falla for the UK.

Mario explored the history of Lancashire in his work and profiled the work of Lancaster-born Richard Owen who invented the word ‘dinosaur’ and whose work helped to establish the Natural History Museum in London.

Junta Fallera de Lancaster with artist Mario Gual del Olmo and the Mayor and Mayoress of Lancaster, 2016
A Falla for Lancaster, D is for Dinosaur by Mario Gual del Olmo, 2016

In addition to the stunning artwork created in a traditional style, a 16-piece band arrived from Spain, bringing music and dancing to the town’s city centre. The people of Lancaster were able to enjoy a ‘gift’ of paella, cooked on open fires in Dalton square.

On the following evening, November 5th, the artwork was burnt (a Valencian tradition, making way for new creativity for the coming year) at the Freehold and Vale Community Bonfire event.

Paella for the people of Lancaster, preparation in Dalton Square

We are very grateful to the support of Dr Carmen Rios de Garcia from the Department of European Languages and Culture at Lancaster University; Montse Catala, Vice president of the Junta Fallera, Valencia; Lancashire County Council Councillor Lizzi Collinge; Billy Pye, Chairman of the Gregson Community Centre and Chris Gibson of Gibson’s Garden Machinery Limited, without whose involvement this project would not have been made possible.