The “Cascatas de São João” invite to creative thinking and making in Porto

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Miguel Nogueira

Porto residents and visitors are invited to take part in the city’s super special festival in town, by creating the most famous “Cascatas de São João”, aka, cascades of little traditional houses that portray the typical ways of life of the people in Porto. The goal is to build up to 250 little houses that will, then, form the greatest picture of what a “Cascata” (Cascade) is. The collective São João Cascata will be on display at the Bolhão Temporary Market, from 21 to 28 June.

This year is still not possible to stroll all over Porto singing in large groups and sharing the tradition of the longest night of the Invicta, while the pandemic constraints are in place. In the meantime, there are community workshops that make up (a bit!) for the constraints. These are real entertaining moments and one can easily find herself/himself evoking memories of joyous past São João Feasts that (no doubt) will be fully celebrated next year. The community workshops to building a “Cascata” kicked off in the end of May (30 May) and will continue for some sessions.

The project resumes in-person working sessions, even though participation is limited due to space capacity restrictions and the workshops must operate in compliance with all the health measures in place. The workshops are coordinated by Teresa Branco, and are scheduled for 6, 8, 10 and 13 June, between 10 am and 12 noon. The ateliers will happen at the “Oficina Brâmica”, located in the centre of Porto, namely in the Rua Santo Isidro, 181. Pre-registration is mandatory, via email (which is the way of getting further information on the workshops, as well). Prior registration is mandatory.

The workshops are organised by Porto City Hall, via the municipal company Ágora Cultura e Desporto, and the “Cascata de São João” is one of the projects with the greatest contribution, from the social point of view to bring people together in the common goal of preserving tradition. The Collective Cascade project has been held since 2017, although it was suspended in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.