Spanish village happy to be left feeling blue by Smurfs

Residents in Juzcar vote to keep paint job after tourist boom

Madrid

It was meant to be a short-lived publicity stunt for a film that became a box-office smash despite withering reviews. But for the 221 inhabitants of Juzcar in southern Spain, The Smurfs in 3D has brought them an unexpected lifeline in tough economic times – and yesterday they voted overwhelmingly to keep it.

The tiny pueblo of white-washed buildings near Malaga in Andalucía was selected by the filmmakers this summer to be painted entirely in that unique hue, Smurf blue.

While Sony had promised to return the village to its former glory after filming and publicity, the residents have found that being blue is not so bad at all, and yesterday in a referendum voted 141 in favour and just 33 against to remain the world's only Smurf village.

Ever since the pueblo was converted into the set of Smurftown for Sony's hit, it has been cashing in on its new-found celebrity status. Previously, about 300 tourists a year would pass through Juzcar. In the past six months, an estimated 80,000 followers of "Los Pitufos", as the Smurfs are known in Spanish, have made the trek to the remote village high in Malaga's sierras.

The village has eagerly embraced its new role, holding events such as a Smurf moonlight fun run, Smurf painting competitions and permanently running Smurf trade fairs. There are even Smurf-themed weddings to keep fans of the squeaky little blue folk coming.

However, the biggest draw for Smurfophiles is surely Juzcar's 175 buildings, uniformly repainted light blue from traditional white for the filming. Even the church and gravestones were transformed, with 4,000 litres of blue paint applied to one of Spain's famous 1,500 "pueblos blancos".

The Juzcar mayor, David Fernandez, reported that yesterday's referendum ran off "smoothly but with a great deal of excitement" and that many villagers had dressed up as Smurfs for the ballot count, held in a packed town hall sideroom.

Personally "delighted" at the large vote in favour of "staying blue", Mr Fernandez had earlier written a lengthy pro-Smurf column on the town's website. "Our blue friends are ecologists and enthusiastic mycologists [toadstool and fungus fans], just like us," he said.

Indeed, Juzcar – where fungi flourish in large quantities each autumn in dense local woodland – celebrated its fifth annual mycology congress this September, although in a nod to the village's latest residents, the publicity flyer came with a Smurf peeking out behind a prize specimen of a red and white Amanita muscaria tyndrum toadstool.

"I would charge a euro a shot for visitors, and keep it going," one Juzcar blogger called Monica wrote yesterday. "With 80,000 visitors, how much money we would get?"

News
Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
people
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Worldwide ticket sales for The Lion King musical surpassed $6.2bn ($3.8bn) this summer
tvMusical is biggest grossing show or film in history
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drink
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

EBD Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Science Teacher Greater Manchester

Humanities Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Humanities teacher required for ...

English Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: ENGLISH TEACHER REQUIRED - Humbe...

Chemistry Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: We are looking for a Qualified C...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits