Pamplona Bull-Running Festival Canceled for First Time in Decades

Carmelo Buttini Echarte said he “couldn’t hold back my tears” after he found out it had been canceled

In this July 14, 2017, file photo, revellers fall next to Miura's fighting bulls during the running of the bulls at the San Fermin Festival, in Pamplona, northern Spain.
Alvaro Barrientos/AP Photo

Pounding hooves and squeals of excitement as bulls charge toward the fleeing crowd of thousands of people will not be heard on the streets of Pamplona on Monday for the first time since Spain's civil war.

Made famous by Ernest Hemingway's 1926 novel "The Sun Also Rises," the historic San Fermin bull-running festival normally draws hundreds of thousands of people from around the world to drink, dance and race through the streets of the Spanish city.

Although it has survived previous pandemics, this year's event was canceled in April as the country's coronavirus outbreak spiraled out of control.

"It's so strange and sad," said Carmelo Buttini Echarte, 52, one of the best-known bull runners, who said he has not missed a bull run in 40 years since his first at age 12.

He said he "couldn't hold back my tears" after he found out it had been canceled.

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