Chapala is in the midst of the annual festivities honoring spiritual patron Saint Francis of Assisi. The novena began as usual on September 26, continuing daily through Wednesday, October 4.
Each day’s activities start with the designated sponsoring guild gathering for the Mañanitas prayer service held at the north end of Avenida Madero, 6:30 a.m., followed by a walk to the parish church for the 7 a.m. celebration of mass.
A larger, more picturesque evening procession heads out the same departure point, 6:30 p.m., taking the same route with a drum and bugle corps leading a string of pilgrims carrying banners, symbolic offerings and a small statue of San Francisco enclosed in a glass case as the prelude to the 7 p.m. mass. Troupes of Indian dancers, marching musicians, floats and cherished religious icons are often thrown into the mix to demonstrate faith and devotion.
After the evening service crowds gather at the end of the main street to take in musical entertainment or head around the corner to Paseo Ramon Corona to chow down on typical foods and treat kids to spins on mechanical rides. The glittering explosion of a castillo fireworks display installed in front of the temple caps off the night’s fun around 10 p.m.