Revellers celebrate while waiting for the launch of the 'Chupinazo' rocket, to celebrate the official opening of the 2019 San Fermin fiestas with daily bull runs, bullfights, music and dancing in Pamplona, Spain, Saturday July 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)

Spain: Pamplona kicks off running of bulls festival

July 06, 2019 - 3:19 am

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.