It’s Carnaval Time in La Paz!

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February 16th to February 21st, 2012
Are you ready to see La Paz transform itself into one big, public street party? The traditional Carnaval La Paz will be kicking off on Thursday, February16th. Organizers, including the Director of Tourism in La Paz, Pedro Aguilar, are promising a well-organized, high scale event so prepare yourself for an unusually busy, bright and festive malecon with plenty to buy, eat and drink as well as large crowds and never ending entertainment.
“We were hearing a lot of complaints from business people and even from the general public in La Paz about this annual event. Carnaval needed to be overhauled and that is what we have been working on the past few months.  We are trying to get local businesses involved and with their support, our parade floats have more than doubled.  Also, several local restaurants will be hosting the Pavillion de Restaurantes which will be located on 16 de Septiembre and the Malecon.  Trocodero, Azul Marino. Tres Virgenes, Café Milano and Corazon Café are just a few that will be participating.  People will notice a bigger, better Carnaval,” Aguilar said.
Carnaval is an annual event held in major cities in Mexico and in other parts of the world (Rio de Janeiro anyone!)  which generally occurs the week before Lent with all activities ending by Ash Wednesday, or the start of Lent.
During the 6 days of Carnaval, the malecon in La Paz will be shut down to traffic by early afternoon and booths, tables, tents and makeshift stages will be set up along both sides of the street to sell unusual wares or fantastic food, or to host carnaval games and music.
Entertainment at the main stage (the kiosk of the malecon located on the corner of Abasolo and 16 de Septiembre) will be held every night with high profile, national performers confirmed including TV personality Adrián Uribe and Banda Sinaloense La Fugitiva on Thursday, Mariachi Penisular on Friday, on Saturday rock group Lost No Name and Sunday evening, popular local artist Diana Reyes. The main stage usually gets going around late afternoon while the headliner for the evening is scheduled to appear at 10 pm. If you are not a fan of large crowds, go early as entertainment is free and usually by 10 pm, shoulder-to-shoulder the malecon will feel and it is easy to get swept away from your group.
It is also important to note that the Coronation of the Carnaval Queen will take place on Friday, February 17th starting at 8:00 pm at the Estadio Arturo C. Nahl, just off of 5 de Mayo.  La Paz Mayor Esthela Ponce and Governor Marcos Covarrubias will both be participating.
My family’s favorite part of Carnaval? The parades! This year the parades will be showcasing floats sponsored and decorated by local businesses around the city and according to Aguilar, the number of floats in this years parade has more than doubled. There will be plenty of old cars as well as entertainment from ranchero bands, dressed up clowns and dancers from the various dance schools around town. The parades this year will be held on Sunday the 19th, Monday the 20th and Tuesday the 21st starting at 5 pm. On February 19th and 21st, the parade starts at Marquez de León and travels along the Malecón to El Molinito (the windmill). On February 20th the direction of the parade route is reversed, starting at El Molinito (the windmill) and traveling along the Malecón to Marquez de León. Go early to save a spot along the malecon and watch out for flying candy and hard-boiled eggs filled with confetti!!
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