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Spanish town short of brides buses gals in from city

Alberto Di Lolli / AP

Bernardo, 77, left, talks to a young woman during a meeting between men and women in the village of Candeleda, Spain, April 21. Sixty-eight women were bused in to the village to meet with the local men with the hope that some will form relationships and settle in the village, where the main population is male.

Alberto Di Lolli / AP

A group of women arrive in a bus before a meeting between men and women in Candeleda, Spain.

Inspired by a Hollywood western, a Spanish dating association is trying to slow a population drain from the country's beleaguered central villages, introducing bachelors to women bused in from the big city of Madrid with hopes of ending a bride shortage.

Candeleda, a town of 6,000 on the banks of the picturesque Lobera River, hosted a weekend fiesta to welcome 68 women for a meet-and-greet with the village's single men. Ancient cave paintings show Candeleda has been inhabited for some 5,000 years, and resident Jose Miguel, 67, said he would hate to see its population dwindle after such a long history.

-- Reported by the Associated Press