THE final countdown is on to Malaga Feria, the province’s greatest public party of the year. More than two million visitors are expected at the annual event which opens just before midnight tomorrow (Friday) with fireworks followed by an appearance by local singer and songwriter María del Mar Rodríguez Carnero. Known as La Mari, she will officially open the feria at 11.50pm and will appear with her band Chambao 30 minutes later. The feria origins date back to the 15th century when Malaga was recaptured from the Moors, an event celebrated ever since. Hundreds of fairground attractions, popup bars, dance and music and a tremendous party atmosphere attract scores of thousands - both young and old, Spanish and foreign - nightly to the fair area at El Cortijo de Torres. And the visitors are not just from Malaga city and nearby surrounds. Spanish families en-masse from Madrid and many other cities travel south to attend the annual event as part of their holidays, and many from inland areas including resident expatriates as well as tourists from throughout Axarquia and elsewhere throng to join the massive celebrations. Each day the centre of the fair is the Avenida del Marqués de Larios with its roof swathed in canvas to help protect visitors from the sun. Away from the special fair ground, events spill across the city with museums opening with special displays and horsemen and young women in traditional attire parading through many streets.