New archaeological treasures to discover, “finished” to unearth, a reinforced international component, hiking, gastronomy and entertainment, with predictions of everything happening in “normal” mode. If you add the kind of "prequel" that will be the big event that a world association of retired army has, we have the ingredients for another edition of the Walking Festival Ameixial, which will take place on the last weekend of April in this mountain village of the municipality of Loulé.
Two of the main faces of this festival, the sustainable tourism entrepreneur João Ministro, from ProActive Tur, and Pedro Barros, one of the archaeologists responsible for the Estela Project, they were talking to the Sul Informação and they lifted the veil on what will be the next edition of the event.
The Ameixial Hiking Festival will be marked, from the outset, by a return to possible normality.
“We are counting on having a normal event, like before the pandemic. We will have the walks, food and drinks and entertainment, as usual», referred João Ministro.
The big news is that, in 2022, the festival will have a richer program from an international point of view, largely thanks to the partnership that the event organizers have with the Algarve Walking Association, which has helped to further internationalize the event. Ameixial as a destination for hiking lovers, as Portugal's only member of the IVV – International Federation of Popular Sports, an international federation of hiking and other sports clubs .
«Since 2018 we have calls at the WFA IVV walks, organized by Charles Pauwels and the club. The novelty, next year, is that the festival itself will have the seal of the federation, which has also been associated with the permanent routes that exist here in the parish», explained the festival organizer.
“This way, starting next year, any IVV member who wants to come here can participate in the festival's walks and be entitled to a stamp in a kind of passport they have, where they accumulate points or kilometers. Before, it was only on IVV initiatives during the festival. Now any one of the walks entitles you to the seal», he added.
Another important aspect of the Ameixial Walking Festival is linked to heritage.
«We will continue to reveal all the heritage, not only architectural, archaeological and ethnographic, but also a little of what has been done in the last two years, in terms of archaeological research, namely the excavations that were carried out in the dolmens of Ameixial and in two Iron Age necropolises», explained Pedro Barros.
The campaign in question was promoted by the City Council of Loulé, within the scope of the PADRE, «and gave very interesting results, which will be revealed in some of our walks».
For this, the archeology team that was carrying out the work «will be invited to be here during the festival».
Before the WFA took place, and also thanks to the affiliation of the Algarve Hiking Association in the international federation, another association, the IML, an international hiking club which is a partner of IVV, will hold a major international event at Ameixial.
«The IML is coming to hold an event in March. This is an international association that brings together retired army gangs, which have members in many countries», adds João Ministro.
In 2022, the main event of this association «will be here in Ameixial. Registration is now open and we will certainly have dozens of people from various countries here in March».