Downtown Pensacola will once again echo with the sound of plastic baseball bats whacking buttocks on Saturday, July 15, starting at 9 a.m., as the city’s annual Running of the Bulls takes place for the 7th year.
This local adoption of the centuries-old Spanish three-day spectacle of El Encierro, or the Running of the Bulls, was first brought to Pensacola by way of New Orleans in 2011. While the celebration was inspired by the legendary Spanish event, there are grand differences.
In Pensacola, the main event features hundreds of runners racing along a two-mile route that starts and ends at Seville Quarter. The Spanish bulls have been replaced by glitter-horned, baseball-bat-toting roller derby girls. Instead of goring and stampeding, however, the “bulls” merely spank them with plastic bats.
When the first cannon is fired at 9 a.m. the runners will take to the course that weaves throughout downtown’s historic neighborhoods. At the second shot of the cannon the bulls will be released, wielding “wiffle” bats, to chase down the participants. As is customary in the original celebration in Spain, runners are requested to wear all white with red kerchiefs or sashes.
There is no cost for spectators. Runners (or walkers) will be provided with a St. Fermin Commemorative t-shirt as well as a wristband for complimentary beer and soft drinks. Through July 14 tickets will be $25 and on the morning of the event the cost will be $30. According to event organizers, the first 400 registered participants will receive a St. Fermin bandana along with the 2017 commemorative t-shirt.