When Hollywood painted the tiny Spanish village of Júzcar blue for filming of the Smurfs movie, it was on condition that the houses would be returned to their traditional white when filming wrapped.
But in 2011, residents voted overwhelming – by 141 votes to 33 – to keep their village, one of Andalusia’s traditional Pueblos Blancos, Smurf blue. As a result, Júzcar’s tourist numbers jumped from 300 visitors per year to 80,000 in the six months following the release of the film.
Fueled in part by tough economic conditions, the ‘Smurf Village’ has embraced its new found fame, holding a Smurf moonlight fun run, Smurf painting contests, weddings and permanently running Smurf trade fairs. Júzcar’s 175 buildings, transformed by 4,000 litres of blue paint, make for an amazing site on the hillside. Even the church and its gravestones received the Smurf treatment.
Mayor David Fernandez Tirado, known as “Papa Smurf”, told the Spanish media: “It’s given a boost to the local economy, it’s increased our happiness, our dreams and our levels of employment.”