By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
An estimated 800,000 visitors — about 20 percent of whom will be international tourists — are expected to attend the 2020 carnival festival in the Yucatan capital of Mérida, said the city’s director of economic development and tourism, Eduardo Seijo Solis, during a press conference on Monday, Jan. 20.
Headlining the festival will be the internationally acclaimed Puerto Rican pop musician Chayanne, who will offer a live concert on Sunday, Feb. 23, as part of his 2020 Desde la Alma Tour.
The eight-day celebration prior to the liturgical season of Lent leading into the Easter holiday, will officially begin on Wednesday, Feb. 19, and will also include performances by Mexican romantic swooner Yahir, Costa Rican actress and singer Maribel Guardia, Mexican romantic singer and soap opera star Lorena Herrera, Mexican pop singer Cynthia Urias, Argentine film star and singer Julián Gil and Mexican actor Polo Morín.
The festival will likewise include an exhibit of 100 sketches by Pablo Picasso (which is already open and which will remain on display through March), parades, gastronomic events, theatrical performances (including a children’s musical interpretation of Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book”), Latino dance fests and a breathtaking Circe du Soleil-style spectacular performed entirely by Mérida-based artists.
The theme of the festival for 2020 is literature and literary characters, which means ou can expect to see the likes of Batman and Don Quixote mingled among the parade participants.
“Nearly every event is free of charge,” said Seijo Solis. “Only three of the concerts will require paid tickets. And there will be free transport made available from downtown Mérida to the carnival venue, which is just outside the city. We want this event to be accessible for everyone.”
Carnival is traditionally celebrated throughout Mexico, but is considered to be the most important holiday period in Mérida, which boasts a mixed ethnic background of Maya, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Middle Eastern cultures.
“The advantage of celebrating Carnival in Mérida is that, in addition to having a rich cultural history and being surrounded by an abundance of nature beauty, the city is considered to be the safest in all of Mexico, which makes it an ideal family destination,” said Mérida Cultural Director Irving Berlín Villafaña.