Chapala’s annual Carnaval celebration blasts into action Thursday, February 20 with the traditional Entierro del Mal Humor (burial of bad humor) wrapped into an evening of inaugural festivities. This year’s Mardi Gras blowout has been pared down to a six-day program running through February 25 that is focused on long-held customs and family appeal.
Thursday’s activities kick off with a festive romp through town featuring samba dancers, music makers, costumed stilt walkers and party hounds, starting from the north end of Avenida Madero, 7 p.m., and ending at the Cristiania Park fairgrounds for the ribbon cutting, torching of the Mal Humor coffin and crowning of Carnaval’s Ugly King Felipe I and the rest of his royal court.
Entry to Carnaval headquarters is free on opening night, with general admission on subsequent dates set at 20 pesos for adults and ten pesos for kids.
A novelty this year is the participation of India as guest country, showcasing the nation’s gastronomy, artistry and culture in daily exhibitions. Other special guests include Jalisco motorcycle clubs showing up Saturday, February 22, 11 a.m. at the Malecón, and vintage automobile clubs arriving Tuesday, February 25, at the same time and place.
The colorful Carnaval parade will take place Sunday, February 23, 10 a.m., running from Paseo Ramón Corona for a full loop along Avenida Madero.
There will be the usual string of dances with well-known bands performing in the park’s pool area nightly, Friday through Monday from 8 p.m., along with lots of other entertainment going on each evening elsewhere in the park. Tuesday’s Carnaval finale featuring Banda La Arrolladora de Rene Camacho will be centered in the parking area at the north end of fairgrounds.
Carnaval also encompasses the traditional fiestas taurinas, with bull-riding and banda dance concerts scheduled Friday through Tuesday, 4:30 p.m., at the Lienzo Charro J. Jesús González Gallo, located on Avenida Madero opposite the Pemex station. Admission with pre-paid tickets ranges from 150 to 230 pesos. These events are preceded by the customary recibimientos (reception parties) to be held daily, 2 p.m. at the Malecón.