Skip to main content

Originally published June 28, 2013 at 10:30 AM | Page modified June 28, 2013 at 1:10 PM

  • Share:
  • Comments (0)
  • Print

Bullish on Pamplona: It's time to run once again

The running of the bulls is the most famous part of the city's annual San Fermin festival.

NWTraveler editor

Most Popular Comments
Hide / Show comments
No comments have been posted to this article.
Start the conversation >


AMID CHAOS, glee and fear, revelers in Spain soon will run again with angry bulls in the city of Pamplona.

It's the most famous — or infamous — part of the city's annual July 6-14 San Fermin festival, a whirlwind of parades and parties, fireworks and music, bull-running and bullfights.

In the daily morning bull runs, hundreds of adrenaline-charged tourists and locals try to race ahead of the bulls on a 900-yard course through Pamplona's narrow streets. A half-dozen bulls and a half-dozen steers (who keep the bulls slightly in check) thunder along the cobblestones as spectators holler and cheer, hanging out of every window and balcony. Some runners make it into the bullfight arena ahead of the bulls; others take refuge in doorways as the bulls pound past. Every year runners are injured when they pile up against each other or slip and fall. Occasionally, bulls gore runners, and about 15 people have died since the running of the bulls began in the early 1900s.

Coming right along with the festival is the annual protest in Pamplona by animal-rights groups. (PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is one of the major bullfighting opponents.)

Several dozen nearly naked protesters lay down in a Pamplona street last year and spelled out "Stop bullfights" with their bodies. In other years, protesters have run through the streets wearing red scarves (like those traditionally worn by runners with the bulls), plastic bullhorn hats and not much else.

It's a wild spectacle from all sides.

Kristin R. Jackson is The Seattle Times NWTraveler editor. Contact her at

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►