There is a party for the 66 inhabitants of Penina (and for anyone who wants to join)

Penina is having a party this Saturday, with activities from morning to night

Photo: Mariana Carriço | Sul Informação

The municipality of Loulé is one of the largest in the country in terms of geographical area and in it I have to many villages, which, once forgotten, today struggle to “come on the map”. Penina, home to 66 people, most of whom are over 50, is one of them. To get there, say the residents, «you really have to want to go there», but there is a party that is already changing mentalities.

Alice Ferreira is 81 years old. In Penina, everyone knows it and whoever comes here never leaves without going through the property her.

The eight decades of life do not prevent her from going every day to pick her herbs for tea or take care of the little one. museum which, year after year, he built.

In an annex, well cared for and cared for, Alice today gathers all the implements she used in agriculture, the workpieces she makes or her sewing on the pedal machine that, even today, can be used. Everything is available to everyone, just knock on the door and ask to enter.

With enthusiasm, Alice says that she looks forward to today, June 17th, when, in the “Penina em Festa” initiative, the village fills with young people willing to learn and have fun. «Last year, I was teaching the empreita, many people wanted to learn, this year I can also show how it's done, but I'm also going to learn and be a student instead of a teacher», she tells us.

«I'm younger, when they ask me I say I turned 18», she shoots, between laughs.


The D.Alice Museum. Photo: Mariana Carriço | Sul Informação


This is the third consecutive year that Penina open doors to celebrate and expectations are "very high".

So says Manoli Ortiz, the Spanish artist who chose to live in this Loulé village 23 years ago and who was involved in the organization of Penina em Festa from the beginning.

«This project started in 2021, which was the first year that the geostages carried out activities to promote the Geopark. At that time, they invited about 20 artists from Loulé to deliver the cultural project and I was one of the invited artists», he explains to Sul Informação.


Manoli Ortiz. Photo: Mariana Carriço | Sul Informação


In Largo da Fonte da Nossa Senhora de Fátima, Manoli and Vítor (also from Penina) show how everything is being prepared for the party. There are already drink machines and lots of ice, because a hot day is expected.

«The prehistoric salamander [Metoposaurus algarvensis], which is what is at the origin of all this, was discovered here and, therefore, it is natural that people here feel very connected to the project», says Vítor Gregório, who is also part of the organization of Penina em Festa.

The project that Vítor talks about is the aspiring Geopark Algarvensis, candidate for UNESCO world heritage, which includes the municipalities of Loulé, Albufeira and Silves, and part of the discovery in Penina, by researchers at the University of Edinburgh, of the fossil of a species of giant salamander, 200 million years old.

To promote the candidacy for a geopark and involve the population, the Geopalco festival has been taking place since May 20, bringing art, science and nature to the three municipalities involved.

Despite being a biennial initiative, things in Penina went so well in 2021 that, last year, there was a party again, sponsored by the Municipality of Loulé. And now there's a party again.

«At Penina, we were fascinated by the dynamics of what was happening, but what came after was even more wonderful. You can see that this has become ingrained in people: everything is flowery, painted and you can see that people want to show the village to the world and that they do well. This is the "example village" and we would really like this feeling to contaminate the rest of the territory», tells our newspaper Andreia Pintassilgo, designer at the Câmara de Loulé and one of those responsible, from the beginning, for the communication of "Penina em Festa".

Today, June 17th, the program starts at 9:00 am, with walks, workshops (ranging from esparto to learning to make craft beer, passing through horseback riding), exhibitions, street entertainment and concerts. From 21:30, there is music with In Versus and Urze Lume.


Photo: Mariana Carriço | Sul Informação


Despite this being «the big day», in the previous ones, the streets were already ready to receive the hundreds of people that the village expects to receive.

In Penina, it doesn't take long to walk from one end of the village to the other, but each street is more embellished than the last.

Maria Palma does not hide her pride when she sees the flower-filled streets, which is also the result of the daily work of the villagers who want to make Penina a better place.

Maria wasn't born here, but she moved here 35 years ago, so she already considers herself more from Penina than the place where she was born. To the Sul Informação, remember how things were different a few years ago. «In these last decades, I have witnessed a great evolution: today this is a prettier, happier, flowerier and much cleaner village».


Maria Palma. Photo: Mariana Carriço | Sul Informação


Asked whether this type of festivities brought other dynamics, Maria Palma does not doubt: “These festivities help to show the village to other people. Hardly anyone knew Penina, it almost didn't appear on the map, and now all roads lead here on this day », she reinforces, while showing the work that some people have done to give new life to the streets.

«Here, everyone does a little bit. The Board gives the water, then we have the demijohns and drums and we get together to water. There are always those who are more in charge of taking care of the flowers every day, but it is all done with great pleasure», he reveals, reinforcing that, in this way, they would also like to pass on the example that, «when people are united, places move more beautiful and well cared for".

Manoli, who takes care of all the preparations from day one, also accompanies us to Café Faísca, the only one in the village. Behind the counter is Graça, who tells us that events are good for everyone «and also for business, of course».

«This is small and there is not much movement, so, with the party, we have to work a lot more», he continues, reinforcing that there will be snacks for everyone who visits the establishment.


Graça Faísca, owner of Café Faísca. Photo: Mariana Carriço | Sul Informação


In addition to all the activities that visitors can explore, it is also possible to learn how candles and natural soap are made at Saboaria D'Aldeia, or how pigments from native plants are transferred to fabrics through a cooking process.

Manoli will also have his studio open so that people can have contact with his works of art and, if they wish, purchase a piece.

«In Penina, I found a refuge and a place of inspiration. Here, I have everything I need to develop my art», reinforces Manoli Ortiz, also referring to the importance that this territorial dynamization has had for the village and for people like D. Alice, who rarely leave the house, but who they like it a lot when they visit.

«Few pass by here, but when they do, they are curious to see the things I keep here. At the Festa, everyone is invited to come», emphasizes the octogenarian Alice Ferreira, who says goodbye with a «until we see each other».

See here the full program of Penina em Festa.


Photos: Mariana Sedge | Sul Informação




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