We celebrate a lot of holidays in Ecuador, and by far the biggest one here is Cuenca Independence Day (to give you a perspective, cities celebrate each other's independence days as well). For three days each November the place is abuzz with parades, fireworks, concerts, vendors out the wazoo, and parties galore. Visitors pour in from all over the place and every hotel room is filled.
This year marked Anniversary #193, and with the mayoral election just months away city government pulled out all the stops to make the event a doozy. I must confess, this was our fourth go-round and these events get a bit repetitious, so as the holiday approached we had a bit of a "whatever" attitude. I'm quite happy to report that throughout the weekend we were pleasantly surprised.
Friday afternoon we visited an orchid and bonsai exhibition at the mall.
That evening we walked over to Paradise Park for a special outdoor symphony performance. The program began with a rousing rendition of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, complete with booming cannons and spectacular fireworks right over the bandstand. For the final portion a 12 piece mariachi band came out and had everyone on their feet dancing.
The festival is so big and spread out that we couldn't take everything in, but we sure walked our legs off Saturday and Sunday. The weather was glorious all weekend and there was a lot going on.
To say the crowds were massive is an understatement
An indigenous tribe from the Amazon had an exhibit
As did a maker of our famous Panama hats
It's amazing that a light rail system will soon be running through the historic district. One of the cars was on display
And of course vendors selling leather goods
Yes, Panama hats
Plus musical instruments, native jewelry, and loads of other trinkets
Parque de la Madre had a special surprise for the kids---dinosaurs!
At the rear of the park a new planetarium just opened. We'll check it out later--the line was too long.
Speaking of long lines, Marc Anthony was performing at the stadium Saturday night. Our walk home went in that general direction, and we were shocked at 3 PM to see people "lined up" all over the place. That description is in quotes because lines were going in every direction with no discernible beginning or end. We could still hear the concert blasting away when we went to bed around midnight. And to think that the day before we almost bought tickets!
The celebration was a huge success and my congratulations to the organizers. You made us proud to live in Cuenca!!