Chapala’s annual Carnaval festivities crank into action Friday, February 2, turning the heart of the town into full-tilt party central through Tuesday, February 13.
Operating under the slogan Rescatando Tradiciones (reviving traditions), this year’s Mardi Gras blowout will be headquartered in Chapala’s principal tourist zone, returning to its original venue for the first time in more than two decades.
The nucleus of the town’s number one annual celebration will be situated in an L-shaped area that encompasses the southern-most block of Avenida Madero, Paseo Ramón Corona and the waterfront Malecón. The section of Madero beyond the traffic light at Hidalgo and the lower lane of Ramón Corona will remain open to vehicular traffic during daytime hours, to be blocked off for pedestrians only as of 6 p.m.
General admission and most entertainment events will be free to the public, although visitors will be required to pass through security filters at all accesses. The Teatro del Pueblo main stage for daily entertainment will be located in front of the Fuente de Pescadores where Madero dead ends. Special events for kids will take place on the open-air stage next to the skate park.
The eastern leg of the Malecón will closed off on the nights of February 4, 10 and 13 to accommodate ticket holders attending Carnaval’s big star banda concerts. Pancho Barraza is booked as headline act for the first Sunday. Julión Alvarez appears the following Saturday, with Remmy Valenzuela on the bill for the all-night Carnaval finale. Admission costs range from as low of 160 pesos at pre-sale discount rates for the standing only area, and up to 1,650 pesos for the top-tier VIP seating. The concert stage will be set up in front of the bridge to Jesús Pescador island, with Lake Chapala as a stunning natural backdrop.
Carnaval kicks off with the opening night parade, Friday, February 2, departing from the main plaza at 7 p.m., with a cavalcade of floats, samba dancers and revelers making a full loop along Madero before ending at the Teatro del Pueblo for the traditional Entierro del Mal (burial of ill temper by torching). The coronation of El Rey Feo, ugly monarch of mayhem, live music, dancing and hoopla will follow for the remainder of the night.