Carnaval 2020

This is the 122nd year for Carnaval in Mazatlan. The mayor,Luis Guillermo “El Quimico” Benitez Torres along with the new director of Cultura, José Angel Tostado, announced the 2020 theme on October 12: “Somos América: Pasión, Alegria y Esperanza” – we are America, passion, joy [or happiness] and hope. The entrance to the fiesta on Olas Altas is once again  free – as well as distributing many free tickets to the three “big” events in the stadium. [last year 21,000 tickets were free about 7,000 tickets per performance and the mayor confirmed it would be same for 2020]. If you are not fond of crowds and have an aversion to being swept along by high spirited party-goers then Olas Altas is not for you. It’s all well-meaning but people do push you along and for some that’s not a welcome feeling. Regardless, travel light, no purse, no wallet, bare minimum when you venture out.

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; four candidates for “child queen”, reina infantil and four for king, rey de la alegria.

Tickets are on sale now:  the office of Cultura/Instituto de Cultura on the Aleman, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. [just not on Sundays]; at the Angela Peralta box office, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and the Gran Plaza 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Sunday. Cultura claims you can order online by going to and download “Cultura Tickets”. Prices and musical entertainment are also confirmed.

Regarding the free tickets: Cultura is refining how and where they will be distributed. Last year, some people who lined up and go the free tickets turned around and sold them!  Apparently there were many disputes, families were angry…more information to come…

Thursday January 30: 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 Calle Bahia [at the Aquarium], Av. de Los Deportes, on Av. Ejército Mexicano then to Juan Carrasco, Aquiles Serdán, onto the 21 de Marzo and concluding in the Plazuela República with more celebrations and a fiesta around 6 p.m. As always, except road detours and delays during this time.

Thursday January 30: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 for votes, are narrowed down to a precious few. All free, with tons of music and guest singers.

Saturday February 1:Elección de reinas, the election of the queens12 candidates are in the running and this year it takes place at the Convention Centre at 7 p.m. Ticket price tbc but it could be free!

Monday February 17:Presentation Premio Mazatlan de Literature,presentation of the literature prize winner for 2018,Casa Haas, 7 p.m. All in Spanish.

Saturday February 15: Velada de las Artes– this “evening of the arts”: once again Maestro Enrique Patrón will be conducing he Camerata Mazatlan and the choral group, Guillermo Sarabia. Also featured are dancers from our classical ballet company.  Angela Peralta Theatre, 8 p.m. $250-$600. [there will be speeches before the performance for the literature prize. Be patient!]

Thursday February 20: Inauguración de la muestra gastronónmica/food fair exhibition 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 1 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 20:Coronation of the King of Happiness/ Coronación del Rey de Carnaval : Remmy Valenzuela [Mexican singer/songwriter and accordionist]  is the headliner, Parque Ciudades Hermanas [Zaragoza and the Malecon], free, 8:30 p.m.

Friday February 21:Coronation pageant for Queen of the flowergames/Coronación Reina de los Juegos Florales. Estadio Teodoro Mariscal/ Baseball Stadium[now sometimes referred to as Casa de los Venados] 8:30 p.m. Headliner is Pepe Aguilar. Prices are confirmed by zone: $900 to $2,100 – rest of the stadium [approx.10,000 seats] will be free with a ticket – details on where to get your free tickets to follow.

Saturday February 22:Coronation pageant for the Queen of Carnaval/Coronación de la Reina del Carnaval.  Estadio Teodoro Mariscal/ Baseball Stadium, 6:00 p.m. Headliner this year is the duo of Carlos Rivera and Yuri. Prices are confirmed according to the zone, $900 – $2,1000 – rest of the stadium[approx. 10,000 seats] will be free – details on where to get your free tickets to follow.

Saturday February 22:Burning of the Bad Humour/Quema del mal humoreach year political or “outspoken” people are in the running, and the Mexicans always wonder who will be chosen to burn in effigy. People will propose candidates online, and vote. 8 p.m. free, at the deer monument, Olas Altas.

Saturday February 22: Combate Naval/ Naval battlefought on the water(and the shore) with fireworks that will be launched again on Olas Altas at around 10:30 p.m. It’s never too early to 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 February 23:First Carnaval Parade/Primer Desfile de Carnaval, starts at 5:00 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. The route with approximate times: 5:30, Av. Rotarismo; 6, Hotel de Cima; 7, Lola Beltrán; 7:30 Hotel de Sol; 7:45 Tourism; 8, El Toro Bravo; 8:30 Valentino’s.

Sunday February 23:  After Parade After Party!  Following the parade at 11 p.m. on Olas Altas, Cultura has invited the pop singer Maria José to perform for free!

Monday February 24:Children’s Costume Ball/Baile InfantilSalón Spectaculare, 10:00 a.m., on Av. Camaron Sabalo in front of the Hotel Quijote Inn.

Monday February 24: Diamond zone –SOLD OUT!Coronation of the Child Queen of Carnaval/Coronación de laReinaInfantil: Baseball Stadium, Estadio Teodoro Mariscal. 6:30 p.m.Headliner is Columbian singer J. Balvin. Prices are confirmed by zone – $900 – $2,600 – rest of the stadium [ approx.10,000 seats] will be free, details on where to get your free tickets to follow.

Monday February 24: Many members of the Banda Los Recoditos – featuring Chiquis Rivera -all free in Parque Ciudades Hermanas, 8 p.m. Malecon and Zaragoza]

Tuesday February 25:Second Carnaval Parade/Segundo Desfile de Carnaval, 4:00 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. 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.

Tuesday February 25: Danna Paola performs on Olas Altas, free, 11 p.m. [Danna is a popular actress, singer and model, only 24 years-old.]