Pamplona kicks off running of bulls festival

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PAMPLONA, Spain (AP) — The blast of a traditional firework has kicked off Pamplona’s famed running of the bulls festival, opening nine days of uninterrupted partying.

A member of the northern city’s official brass band was chosen this year for Saturday’s launch of the rocket, known as the “Chupinazo,” to mark 100 years since the local ensemble’s foundation.

Jesús Garísoain addressed an ecstatic crowd from the city hall’s balcony, declaring “Long live San Fermin,” the saint honored by the festival. That prompted revelers, dressed in white attire and flaunting a traditional red scarf, to spray each other with wine.

American novelist Ernest Hemingway immortalized the fiesta, which each year draws around 1 million visitors.

For eight consecutive mornings starting Sunday, daredevils race with bulls along an 850-meter (930-yard) street course to the city’s bullring.

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