Festival de la Novilla, a novella or heifer, is the main focus of San Sebastian’s popular celebration. It is located in a small rural town on the Island’s west side. There are Live bands performances from folk music and salsa to artisans. Fried food vendors and amusement parks are set up in the square.
The cow, dressed in a crown and flowers, leads a parade through town that features scenes from country life on elaborate floats. A concert of traditional music closes the Festival de la Novilla.
Although the festival de la Novilla was established in 1977, similar events have been held in the town as part of the patronal festival ever since its founding in the 18th century. Cattle raising influence the economy and culture of the area. The Club Altrusa de San Sebastian organized the first official Heifer Festival in January 1977.
This club was founded in 1976 and is dedicated to women entrepreneurs. Its purpose was to raise funds to improve education in the community.
The club still organizes the festival, and funds are raised to improve services and develop educational projects in the area. The festival’s purpose today is to present old traditions so that visitors can learn more about the town’s history. Esperanza, which means hope in Spanish, was the heifer at the 2018 celebration.