PAMPLONA, Spain (AP) — Officials in Spain have launched the traditional firework rocket known as the “Chupinazo” to kick off Pamplona’s famed San Fermin running of the bulls festival.
The firework was launched from Pamplona’s town hall balcony at noon Thursday to the delight of thousands of people packed into the square below.
The crowds— most dressed in festival’s typical white clothes and red neck scarf — immediately erupted ecstatically, screaming “Viva San Fermin!” and spraying each other with wine.
The nine-day, street-partying fiesta was immortalized in Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 novel “The Sun Also Rises.”
The “Chupinazo” comes a day before the first of eight morning bull runs, in which daredevils race with fighting bulls along a 930-yard (850-meter) street course to the bullring.