Thursday February 8 – Tuesday February 13
This is the 120th year for Carnaval in Mazatlan. The theme for 2018 is “patasalada, el circo de los talentos” – in a way, it all means Mazatlan has got tremendous talent! The Mexicans use the phrase pata salada [salty feet] for those born in Mazatlan [the ocean and all that] and they have chosen to celebrate all the fabulous home-grown talent – “circo de los talentos” [circus of talents]- such as Pedro Infante, Lola Beltrán, Cruz Lizárraga, Genaro Estrada, Martiniano Carvajal, Winnie Farmer, Enrique Alonso, Guillermo Sarabia, José Angel Espinoza [Ferrusquilla] and Ramón López Alvarado. Carnaval organizers have elected to honour all the musicians, actors and artists who have contributed to the rich talent pool that has made Mazatlan the cultural jewel in the Pacific-Mexican Coast crown. In January, you’ll see giant colourful paper mache sculptures being hoisted onto the Malecon of these important and talented mazatlecos. For young woman entering the contest who wish to to be queen, the rules are: born in Mazatlan or lived in Mazatlan for three years, can’t be a mother, nor pregnant, nor married and you must be between the ages of 17 – 25 on the day of the election. There are 12 candidates vying for the crown this year. There are three candidates for “child queen”, reina infantil and three for king, rey de la alegria.
Do expect the same glorious floats as in previous years.The street party in Centro begins on Thursday February 8 and goes for six nights, with the final night being Tuesday February 13. Music stages compete for your listening and dancing pleasure. The beer is flowing,the Malecon is jam packed, so travel lightly.
In January: Tickets for all events are purchased at the Angela Peralta box office, even for the baseball stadium. Box office hours will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The kiosk, outside the theatre, is open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tickets are also available at the Gran Plaza, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Entrance fee to the Olas Altas party was free in 2017 but there may be a small peso charge, perhaps $40 in 2018, the amount has not been confirmed. Line-ups at several entrances can be long, [mostly security checks] some people waited two hours to enter the Malecon/Olas Altas, so plan ahead!
If Carnaval tradition is followed, here’s a pattern for events, dates and pricing for your budgeting purposes. All the special acts, headliners and bandas will be booked and confirmed in the future. Please accept these dates only as a guideline if you wish to “save the date.”
Friday January 19: Cómputo final, the final computer tally for queens. Music and celebration in the Plazuela República (Town Hall Square) around 6 p.m. Tonight all the candidates, via votes, are narrowed down to a precious few. All free with tons of music and guest singers.
Saturday January 20: Elección de reinas, the election of the queens. Always an exciting evening at the Angela Peralta. It has great musical numbers and the candidates have many costume changes (in sky-high heels) as well as answering important questions from the judges. It’s a serious process and like all beauty pageants, tension and excitement is in the air. Angela Peralta, 7 p.m., $400 – $600
Friday February 2: Velada de las Artes/ The evening of the Arts. Every year guest artists are invited often under the baton of Maestro Enrique Patrón de Rueda. 8 p.m., $300 – $550 (Traditionally there will be a special presentation for the annual literature prize so plan on listening to a few speeches. Be patient, the show is worth the wait!)
Wednesday February 7: Inauguración de la muestra gastronónmica/food fair exhibition in Plazuela Machado. Mingle with kings and queens and sample special foods prepared by restaurants surrounding the square. There will be regional dishes and delicious desserts served every day during Carnaval starting at 2 p.m. Lots of activities will also take place in the bandstand for children. Free on the inauguration only – but restaurants do offer regional dishes at a small cost during Carnaval.
February 8: Coronation of the King of Happiness/ Coronación del Rey de la Alegria, Set to the backdrop of famous bandas. Free. 7:30 p.m. along Olas Altas.
Friday February 9: Coronation pageant for Queen of the flower games/Coronación Reina de los Juegos Florales: Most likely: La Orquesta Sinfónica Sinaloa de las Artes [OSSLA] and Coro Angela Peralta -the amazing Angela Peralta choral group- all under the baton of Maestro Enrique Patrón de Rueda with a special headliner. Estadio Teodoro Mariscal/ Baseball Stadium. 8:30 p.m., $100 – $700.
Saturday February 10: Coronation pageant for the Queen of Carnaval/ Coronación Reina del Carnaval. Always a main musical attraction such as Gloria Trevi. It’s priced by zones: from $200 – $1200 Estadio Teodoro Mariscal/ Baseball Stadium, 6:30 p.m.
Saturday February 10: Burning of the Bad Humour/Quema del mal humor; each year political or “outspoken” people are in the running, and the Mexicans always wonder who will be chosen to burn in effigy. Last year it was Donald Trump! The procession starts on Zaragoza and Aquiles Serdan at 6 p.m. and ends on Olas Altas, 7:30 Free.
Saturday February 10: Combate Naval/ Naval battle fought on the water (and the shore) with fireworks, Olas Altas, 10: p.m. Start thinking about reserving your viewing spot- Casa Lucila’s, Macaws, The Freeman, a friend’s condo – any place high up, these choreographed fireworks to music are not to be missed. Free.
Sunday February 11: First Carnaval Parade/Primer Desfile de Carnaval, starts at 5:30 p.m. at the Fisherman’s Monument/Monumento al Pescador and goes north to Valentino’s on Rafael Buelna. Themed floats and loads of live music. Unlike any other parade you have ever seen – party like a Mazatleco! Free. Here’s the route with approximate times: 5:30, Av. Rotarismo; 6, Hotel de Cima; 7, Lola Betrán; 7:30 Hotel de Sol; 7:45 Tourism; 8, El Toro Bravo; 8:30 Valentino’s.
Monday February 12: Children’s Costume Ball/Baile Infantil, Salón Spectaculare, 10:00 a.m., on Av. Camaron Sabalo in front of the Hotel Quijote Inn.
Monday February 12: Coronation of the Child Queen of Carnaval/Coronación de la Reina Infantil : A popular Mexican band will perform. Estadio Teodoro Mariscal/ Baseball Stadium, 6:30 p.m. $100 – $700. Later, at 11 p.m., a wildly popular banda will perform on Olas Altas. – Gran Espectaculo de lunes de Carnaval/great performance on the Monday of Carnaval/ $50 [tbc] entry to the street.
Tuesday February 13: Second Carnaval Parade/Segundo Desfile de Carnaval, 4:30 p.m. from the Aquarium south along the Malecon to Miguel Aleman. It’s a mini version of the Sunday parade, but still has many of the fabulous floats. Here’s the route and the approximate times: 4:30, Av. de los Deportes; 5, Lola Beltrán; 5:45, Hotel de Cima; 6, Hotel Plaza Marina; 7:15, Av. Zaragoza; and then along around 7:35 Olas Altas. The parade is followed with lots of live music that usually starts at 10 p.m.