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. The theme was announced on November 23 and it’s: Equinox. The rebirth of the senses/Equinoccio. El renacer de los sentidos. “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 10,000 tickets to the three big “coronation concerts” – all the acts are confirmed now, see below.
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.
All the headliners are confirmed for the main events and many of the smaller events have been confirmed. VIP tickets are on sale now at the Angela Peralta box office,[Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. and then 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., call to be sure, 982 4444 ext. 103. at a mobile kiosk at Cultura offices on the Aleman, La Gran Plaza, Plaza Galerias and Plaza Acaya [before Plaza Sendero]. 10,000 tickets will be free and the organizers are allowing 2 tickets per person on Friday February 1 at the Angela Peralta box office. The free tickets are in “the stands”. These free tickets are for less fortunate Mexicans who never get a chance to see these wonderful events – so tell your cleaning people, your handyman, all your generous Mexicans who have been helping you for years.
Thursday February 7:Manifestación/ 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. Bahia [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.
Thursday February 7: 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.
Friday February 15: 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. Place tbd 7 p.m.
Friday February 15: Presentation Premio Mazatlan de Literature, presentation of the literature prize winner for 2018, Casa Haas, 7 p.m. All in Spanish.
Friday February 22: Velada de las Artes – this “evening of the arts” once again offers a gala event under the baton of Maestro Enrique Patrón de Rueda who has invited international musical guests. More details to follow, but it’s always an exciting and entertaining event. $600, $550, $450, $350, Angela Peralta Theatre, 8 p.m.
Wednesday February 27: Banda El Recodo de Don Cruz Lizárraga: 80th Anniversary! some say it’s THE BEST banda [“la madre de todas las bandas”]. From Wikipedia: Banda Sinaloense el Recodo de Don Cruz Lizárraga, often referred to as Banda el Recodo, is a Mexican banda formed in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, México in 1938; it has been under the direction of the Lizárraga family. Banda el Recodo has performed with such popular artists as Juan Gabriel and Pedro Infante. The ensemble consists of four clarinets, three trumpets, a tambora, a bass drum with a cymbal on top, a tarola, a snare drum, a tuba (Sousaphone style), three trombones, two alto horns (referred to as saxores or amonias in Mexico), and two singers.
They were the first Mexican band to perform in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, North and South America. They were also the first Mexican band to play in the US State of Hawaii. They are the only band to win the Latin Grammy nine times. In 2003, Banda El Recodo became the first Mexican Band to be invited to perform at The Latin Grammy Awards, repeating their performance in 2008, 2010, 2015 and 2017, which made the Mexican band with the most participation in these awards. They have received 12 “Premios Lo Nuestro” in their career, becoming the Band with more awards in its genre. Winners of five Billboard Awards throughout their career in the categories “Album of the Year,” “Song of the Year” and “Master Tone.” They are five-time winners of Premios Oye. 8:00 p.m. Free, in baseball stadium, Estadio Teodoro Mariscal. [how and where you obtain your free ticket will be announced at a later date.]
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 Carnaval Free. 8 p.m. in the Parque Ciudades Hermanas [Zaragoza and the Malecon] featuring Chuy Lizarraga’s band. Also: Masquerade Ball, Night of the Harlequins: Costume contest, fantastic prizes! Ticket’s available at Labeth’s Bazaar Constitución and Benito Juarez, Wednesday to Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.or call 669 117 5768. Your ticket of $750 includes delicious finger food and two drinks. 7 p.m. at Terraza Los Pargos, Chametla #230, Playa Sur.
March 1: Coronation pageant for Queen of the flower games/Coronación Reina de los Juegos Florales. Estadio Teodoro Mariscal/ Baseball Stadium[now sometimes referred to as Casa de los Venados] 8:00 p.m.This year features the group Los Angeles Azules – they’ve been here before to rave reviews. “Los Ángeles Azules are a Mexican musical group playing the cumbia sonidera genre, a variation on cumbia with accordion and synthesizer effect resulting in a fusion of the sounds of cumbia from the 1950-1970s with those of 1990s-style electronic music. In 2018, they played on the Coachella Stage at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, making it the first time a traditional cumbia group has played at the popular festival.” VIP price zone, $2,200, $1,800, $1,300 and $800, rest of the stadium [10,000 seats] is free.
Saturday March 2: Coronation pageant for the Queen of Carnaval/ Coronación de la Reina del Carnaval. Estadio Teodoro Mariscal/ Baseball Stadium, 6:00 p.m. Mijares y Emannuel are the headliners. Emannuel is a popular Mexican gospel, pop and romantic singer and songwriter. These two are adored by Mexicans. VIP zone: $2,800, $2,200, $1,500, $800, rest of the stadium[10,000 seats] 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. TBC.
Saturday March 2: Combate Naval/ Naval battle fought on the water (and the shore) with fireworks that will most likely be launched again on Olas Altas 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 are just some of the participants and the themes they will embody: Indira’s Dance Studio /pride and greatness; Cobaes 95 “Las Mañanitas” /lighting the way; Danzare Studio/flavours of Mexico; Astros Dance Center /marine fantasy; Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa with metamorphosis; Academia de Danza el Habal de Javel Arapia/flashes of glory; Folclóico Huichol/, Durango/at the foot of the canyon; Academia Danzarte Ferrer/flashes of conscience/ Prepartoria Salvador Allende, Culiacán/the heat of the fiesta; Academia de Baile Armot Dance /winter • Corpace Art School/autumn.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, Estadio Teodoro Mariscal. 6:30 p.m. Pop 90 – a compilation of Latin-America pop songs from the 90s! Literally famous artists from the 90s have come together tonight. VIP zone prices: $3,500, $3,000, $2,500, $1,800 rest of the stadium [10,000 seats] 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 are just some of the participants and the themes they will embody: Indira’s Dance Studio /pride and greatness; Cobaes 95 “Las Mañanitas” /lighting the way; Danzare Studio/flavours of Mexico; Astros Dance Center /marine fantasy; Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa with metamorphosis; Academia de Danza el Habal de Javel Arapia/flashes of glory; Folclóico Huichol/, Durango/at the foot of the canyon; Academia Danzarte Ferrer/flashes of conscience/ Prepartoria Salvador Allende, Culiacán/the heat of the fiesta; Academia de Baile Armot Dance /winter; Corpace Art School/autumn. 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.