SPAIN’S longest-running Three Kings parade and celebrations gets into full gear in Alcoy on Wednesday.

The Alicante Province city’s first recorded parade was in 1866 and is classified as a ‘Tourist National Interest Festival’ and an ‘Intangible Asset of Cultural Interest’.

The Alcoy event is believed to be the longest-running documented Three Kings celebration in the world.

The impending arrival of the Magi is officially announced by their emissary every January 4 to herald the news throughout the city in an event known as ‘Bando’.

He repeatedly reads out a proclamation along various stages of the route his bosses will use to enter Alcoy on Thursday.

At the back of the emissary’s entourage will be a group of donkeys carrying mailboxes into which children can post their requests for presents from the Three Kings.

Then on Thursday morning(January 5), 6,500 ticket-holders will be able to enter the Royal Camp.

Later on 350 pages from ten local groups will distribute presents to youngsters during the Three Kings parade starting at 6.00 pm.

One of the traditions includes some of the pages climbing up huge ladders to hand over the gifts to children waiting in balconies.

The parade will have around a thousand participants including torch bearers, musicians, and dancers.

The Magi- Balthazar, Caspar, and Melchior- will travel on camels at the back of the parade and arrive in the main square between 8.00 and 9.00 pm.

They’ll be greeted by a fireworks display and the sound of Handel’s Messiah relayed via loudspeakers.

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