Chapala’s Carnaval festivities blast into action Friday, February 2 as a coffin representing somber moods is set ablaze and turned to ash for the delight of giddy on-lookers gathered by the waterfront Malecón.
The traditional Entierro del Mal Humor segues from an after-dark romp along Avenida Madero with jubilant samba dancers, music makers, costumed stilt walkers and party hounds coaxed by El Pelos, this year’s Rey Feo (ugly king). Paraders start at the central plaza around 7 p.m., heading north before turning back towards the lake at the 7-11 store.
Rounding out the first night of fun, La Poderosa Banda San Juan takes over the Teatro del Pueblo stage in front of the Fisherman’s Fountain at 10 p.m. for a night of dancing under the stars.
The extended fairgrounds occupy the upper level of Paseo Ramón Corona, where visitors will find food, drinks, games of chance, assorted merchandise and mechanical rides operating from late afternoon until the wee hours.
Carnaval also wraps in the customary fiestas taurinas running daily February 9 through 13. Activities start with the Toro del Once, 11.a.m, when horsemen lead a bull to the plaza where crowds congregate for the recibimiento to enjoy music, dancing, free drinks and food. The action moves to Lienzo Charro Gonzalez Gallo, at the north end of Madero opposite the Pemex station, for the jaripeo, a loose-knit bull riding and wrangling event combined with dancing in the stands to live banda music, 4 p.m. Admission at the gate costs 100 to 250 pesos, depending on the drawing power of the performers appearing on the day’s bill.
Free shows are held each day at the Teatro del Pueblo. Big name groups will appear on three dates in headline concerts at an enclosed venue on the eastern leg of the Malecón, with scaled admission fees set for VIP seating and open stand-up zones.
Saturday, February 3: Alternative music fest, with ska, rap and reggae groups, 3 p.m.
Sunday, February 4: Ballet Folklorico Chapala, Orquesta Típica Ixtlahuacán, Lola la Tequilera, from 6 p.m., Coronation of Carnaval Queen, 10 p.m. Pancho Barraza headline, 8 p.m.
Monday, February 5: Beach tournament, noon; Niños Héroes traditional band, 6 p.m., public dance with Banda Colegiala, 10 p.m.
Tuesday, February 6: Traditional Mexican music, Son de Chapala and Redes y Cantos chorus, 6 p.m.; Coronation Senior Queen, 7:45 p.m. Yesteryear Dance with Sonora Santanera orchestra, 8 p.m.
Wednesday, February 7: Los Mexicanos Trio, 8 p.m., public dance with La Misma Banda, 10 p.m.
Thursday, February 8: Mariachi Centenario de Chapala, 6 p.m.
Friday, February 9: Memory Lane Dance, with Salvador Laure, Los Jinetes and Los Terrícolas, 6 p.m.
Saturday, February 10: Colores de México guitar orchestra and singer Luis Sánchez, 7 p.m., public dance with Sona Cuba, 10 p.m. Julión Álvarez headline concert, 8 p.m.
Sunday, February 11: Carnaval Parade, Avenida Madero, 11 a.m.; five jazz and instrumental groups, 10 p.m.
Monday, February 12: Los Cenzontles, traditional Mexican music, 7 p.m.; public dance with Banda Caramelo, 10 p.m.
Tuesday, February 13: Atztaveria, blues, funk, folk, metal instrumental group, 7 p.m.; public dance with Norteño group, 10 p.m. Remmy Valenzuela finale headline concert, 8 p.m.
Wednesday, February 14: The party’s over. Lent begins with Ash Wednesday rituals. Friends and lovers commemorate Día del Amor y Amistad (Valentine’s Day).