Carnaval 2019, February 28 – March 5

This is the 121st year for Carnaval in Mazatlan. There is a new mayor in charge now, Luis Guillermo “El Quimico” Benitez Torres, who has appointed a new director of Cultura, Oscar Blancarte. At this point the activities of Carnaval 2019 are all speculation. The theme for 2019 will be announced Friday November 23, in the Parque Ciudades Hermanas [Zaragoza and the Malecon] at 7 p.m. It’s free and everyone is welcome.What is not speculation is that”El Quimico” was born and bred in Mazatlan and has already announced entrance to the party on Olas Altas will be free, as well as the three big “coronation concerts” – just a charge for the VIP section, the rest is free to the public. He has been chatting with artists Ricky Martin, Chayanne and Emmanuel y Mijares. – but the people will decide which of them will receive the official invitation via a public poll on FB. One gets the sense that El Quimico wants to return to the family feeling and perhaps there will be less glam this year. But who knows? Oscar Blancarte Pimentel was sworn in on November 1 as the director of Cultura, la dirección del Instituto de Cultura, Turismo y Arte de Mazatlan – and he revealed that Banda El Recodo will be playing during Carnaval celebrating the band’s 80th year together. [80 años de música entre amigos.]

For young women entering the contest who wish 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.

When the tickets go on sale they can be 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, Monday to Saturday and on Sundays if there are events. The kiosk, outside the theatre, is open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Saturday and perhaps on Sundays if there are events. Tickets are also available at the Gran Plaza, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

If Cultura decides to follow previous traditions these dates and events are for guidance only – and could easily change as El Quimico and Oscar Blancarte firm up the 2019 program.

Friday February 1: Candidate’s Mini-Parade Fiesta! The organizers of Carnaval always enjoy drumming up excitement for the candidates who work so hard to become king or queen. This parade is small [but large in emotion!] and starts at 4 p.m. at Av. Leonismo [opposite Bosque de la Ciudad] on Av. Ejército Mexicano then to Juan Carrasco, Aquiles Serdán, onto the Alemán, Olas Altas, along Angel Flores and concluding in the Plazuela República with more celebrations and a great fiesta. As always, except road detours and delays during this time.

Friday February 8: 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 February 9: 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.

Thursday February 28: 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.

Thursday February 28: Coronation of the King of Happiness/ Coronación del Rey de la Alegria, [could be changed to El Rey to Carnaval] Free. 7:30 p.m. along Paseo Claussen.

Friday March 1: Coronation pageant for Queen of the flower games/Coronación Reina de los Juegos Florales. Estadio Teodoro Mariscal/ Baseball Stadium. 8:30 p.m. VIP zone price tbd, rest of the stadium is free.

Saturday March 2: Coronation pageant for the Queen of Carnaval/ Coronación Reina del Carnaval.  Estadio Teodoro Mariscal/ Baseball Stadium, 6:30 p.m. VIP zone price tbd, rest of the stadium is free.

Saturday March 2: 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. The procession starts on Zaragoza and Aquiles Serdan at 6 p.m. and ends – location to be announced. 9 p.m. Free.

Saturday March 2: Combate Naval/ Naval battle fought on the water (and the shore) with fireworks that will most likely, but not confirmed, be launching at Casa del Marino [on Paseo Claussen in front of the Lido condo] at around 10:30 p.m. Start thinking about reserving your viewing spot with friends in high places [mostly condos and houses in this area]. These choreographed fireworks to music are not to be missed. Free.

Sunday March 3: 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 March 4: Children’s Costume Ball/Baile Infantil, Salón Spectaculare, 10:00 a.m., on Av. Camaron Sabalo in front of the Hotel Quijote Inn.

Monday March 4: Coronation of the Child Queen of Carnaval/Coronación de la Reina Infantil : Baseball Stadium, 6:30 p.m. VIP zone price tbd, rest of the stadium is free.

Tuesday March 5: 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. on Paseo Claussen.