Mazatlán Carnaval 2015!
Download free 2015 Mazatlan Carnaval Events Schedule!
Schedule of Events | News | Carnival Tips | History of Carnival in Mazatlan
Did I hear you say you want to party?
Keep the dates February 12 til February 17, 2015 open -- that's Carnaval Week!
Carnival was officially inaugurated here in 1898, and those lucky enough to visit during the week before Lent are treated to the modern Mazatlan Carnaval, the third largest carnival celebration in the world. One of the most enduring of Mazatlan tourist attractions, the upcoming 2015 Mazatlan Carnaval, centered on the Malecon, will continue the 117 year tradition and attract hundreds of thousands of people from all around the world.
This multi-day Mardi Gras celebration features parades, fireworks, live music, delicious food and great street entertainment set on the picturesque Mazatlan Malecon oceanfront, within the Centro Historico and at other locations throughout Mazatlan.
While the entire 2015 Mazatlan Carnival Event Schedule isn't firm yet -- new events are posted here as they are announced -- the dates of the biggest traditional events and major shows that are confirmed are noted below.
2015 Mazatlan Carnival Schedule • View Event Schedule
Carnival in Mazatlan isn't just about Carnaval Week, it involves an entire year of preparation that becomes heated in the Fall as the holidays draw near and carnival does not seem so far away, and begins to glow white-hot after new year.
In a very real sense, the 2015 Mazatlan Carnaval has already begun!
Countdown to Ecstasy
• The city of Mazatlan has named Grupo Modelo as the primary sponsor of Carnaval 2015. Grupo Modelo will invest over $900,000 USD supporting and promoting the event, in coordination with other sponsors. (Updated 15 August 2014)
• Contestants for the 2015 Carnival Queen, Child Queen and Carnaval King will be presented at Casa del Marino on Friday, November 7 at 7pm. The 2015 Mazatlan Carnaval theme will also be announced at the same event. This official kick off of the 2015 Carnaval season is free, but seating is limited. Come on down to Casa del Marino amd enjoy music, fireworks and share in the excitement of the start of Carnaval! (Updated 5 November 2014)
• The theme of the 2014 Mazatlan Carnival was Litoralia: La Piel del Mar (Litoral: The Skin of The Sea. Elusive in translation, some believe that the name was an allusion to fact the best carnivals in the world (Rio, Sao Paulo, Havana, New Orleans...) are celebrated in cities along coasts.
The theme of the 2015 Carnival will be announced at the official opening event on November 7, 2014.
Friday January 23, 2015 / 4pm / Free
Queen-candidates parade, the first parade of the 2015 Carnaval season!
Held three weeks before Carnaval Friday and starting at the Mazatlan Aquarium at the southern end of Bosque de la Ciudad at 4pm, this fun kick-off parade winds its way south into the Centro Historico and ends at Plaza de la Republica at about 6pm.
Take advantage of this free carnival event and get to see all of the lovely Queen contestants!
Friday January 30, 2015 / 6pm / Free
Cómputo Final, the final vote count for Carnaval Queen candidates
Go to the Plaza Machado in the Centro Historico and join in the celebration of the Mazatlan Carnaval Queen candidates at Computo Final. Lots of good fun! The event takes place at about 6pm -- and it's free!
Saturday January 31, 2015 / 7pm / 200 - 400 pesos
Elección de Reinas, the official election of queen-candidates
Have you ever enjoyed watching the Miss America Pageant? If so, the Eleccion de Reinas event at the Angela Peralta Theater just might be a Carnaval event that you need to attend!
Packed with fun musical numbers, lavish costumes and, of course, important questions from the judges like what would you wish for if you only had one wish?
Tickets, 200 - 400 pesos, available at the Angela Peralta ticket office.
Friday February 6, 2015 / 8pm / 250 - 500 pesos
Velada de las Artes, the Evening of the Arts special performances
The Evening of the Arts is a special annual performance staged at the Angela Peralta Theater the Friday before to Carnival.
Sponsored by Cultura Mazatlan, in 2014 this exciting event was conducted by Maestro Enrique Patron de Reuda, and featured performances by Orquesta Sinfonica Sinaloa de las Artes (OSSLA); vocal soloists from Coro Guillermo Sarabia; performances by Mexican pop and opera singer and actress Susana Zabaleta and dance performances by Compañia de Danza Fernanda Guerra.
Velada de las Artes starts at 8pm, and tickets range from 250 pesos to 500 pesos. Tickets available at the Angela Peralta ticket office.
Thursday February 12, 2015 / 2pm - 7pm
Muestra Gastronómica food festival at Plaza Machado
The main events of Carnaval week in Mazatlan begin at Plaza Machado at about 2pm Thursday with Muestra Gastronomica, a fun outdoor food fest staged in the heart of the Centro Historico.
Restaurants located on and near the plaza prepare all sorts of special munchies and traditional Sinaloan dishes. It makes a great place to relax into Carnaval and get ready for the coronation of the King of Joy just a couple of blocks away on the Olas Altas Malecon at 7pm.
Muestra Gastronomica continues every afternoon during carnival.
Schedule of 2015 Carnaval Events
Download Mazatlan Carnival 2015 Event Schedule
Carnaval King Coronation | Floral Games | Carnaval Queen Coronation | Bad Mood Burning
Naval Combat Fireworks | Inaugural Parade | Child Queen Coronation
Festival of Lights Fireworks | Final Parade
2015 King of Joy (Rey de la Alegria) Coronation / Upcoming 2015 Mazatlan Carnival Events
Thursday February 12, 2015 (After dark)
Olas Altas Malecon / Just 30 pesos general admission!
While most people think of carnival in Mazatlan as beginning on Friday, the festivities actually start on Thursday. All day Thursday the 12th the Muestra Gastronómica -- food fest -- will be underway in Plaza Machado, and after dark the King of Joy will be crowned on the Malecon overlooking Olas Altas Beach and the Sea of Cortez.
Rey de la Alegría, the King of Joy, is the modern name for the El Rey Feo, the Ugly King.
All the way back to the first official Mazatlan carnivals in 1898 and 1899, this carnaval character was El Rey Feo. In a strikingly modern attempt at politically correct speech he was re-named the King of Joy in 1965.
To some degree the re-branding didn't really stick: many older Mazatlecos still refer to him as Rey Feo...
In 2014 the King's coronation was definitely a Banda Bash, with musical entertainment by Chuy Lizarraga and his Banda Tierra Sinaloense, Banda de Mesillas, Grupo Punto Final, Los Horscopos de Durango and Jorge Cordero, Banda de Mesillas, Grupo Punto Final and Jorge Cordero.
Let the party begin!
Video of the crowining of the 2014 Mazatlan Carnaval King
Concert and Coronation of the Queen of Juegos Florales (Floral Games) / Upcoming 2015 Mazatlan Carnival Events
Friday February 13, 2015 (8:30pm)
Estadio Teodoro Mariscal - Venados Stadium / 100 - 450 pesos
The big carnival concert -- and coronation of the Mazatlan Juegos Florales Queen -- is staged in the Mazatlan Venados baseball stadium.
Juegos Florales ("Floral Games") is always a well-attended event that centers on literature and culture.
Awards are given to contestants who have written the best "flowery verse", the top prize being the prestigious Clemencia Isaura Poetry Award, a nearly 70 year tradition of honoring the best unpublished work from anywhere in Mexico.
The Floral Games event is also where the Mazatlan Prize for the best literary work published in Mexico during the year that precedes the feast is delivered within the framework of the celebrations of Carnival. This literary award has gained great prestige within Mexico and internationally, with winners including well-known writers such as Ricardo Garibay, Elena Poniatowska, Hector Aguilar Camin, Juan Villoro and Jorge Volpi.
A concert caps the evening of entertainment at the Floral Games. In 2014, LE DIV4S headlined the show -- and rocked the house!
The Floral Games are a beautiful evening, and a highly recommended way to begin Carnaval!
Crowining of the Queen of the 2014 Mazatlan Juegos Florales video
2015 Reina del Carnavál (Carnival Queen) Coronation / Stadium Event / Upcoming 2015 Mazatlan Carnival Events
Saturday February 14, 2015 (8:30pm)
Estadio Teodoro Mariscal - Venados Stadium / 100 - 550 pesos
Carnaval Saturday evening festivities begin with the coronation of the Carnaval Queen at the Estadio Teodoro Mariscal / Venados Baseball Stadium.
In 2014 the candidates for Carnaval Queen were Siu Ying Audelo, Ingrid Carreón, Daniela García, Lorena Lizárraga, Mizarahi Shobert, Fernanda Tirado, Marcela Valdez, Harriet Vázquez and Pamela de la Vega.
The strikingly beautiful Lorena Lizárraga Zataráin, pictured to the right, was chosen 2014 Mazatlan Carnaval Queen, and reigns until the 2015 Queen is crowned!
Video of the crowining of the 2014 Mazatlan Carnaval Queen
This carnival event traditionally includes a concert performance by a major Latin musical artist or group, and the 2014 coronation was no exception with Sasha, Benny y Erik giving a sizzling hot pop performance.
Go to the stadium and watch the 2015 Mazatlan Carnaval Queen -- Reina del Carnavál -- receive her crown! Big-time fun!
Video of Sasha, Benny y Erik performing Cada Beso
Traditional Public Event / Upcoming 2015 Mazatlan Carnival Events
Saturday February 14, 2015 (About 9pm)
Olas Altas Malecon / Just 30 pesos general admission!
A traditional annual Mazatlan Carnaval ritual, the climax of Quema del Mal Humor (Bad Mood Burning) is the incineration of a giant puppet.
Sometimes modeled after an unpopular public figure, sometimes just someone famous, the effigy is hanged and burned -- think massive exploding flaming piñata on steroids.
It is believed that this ritual banishes ill-feeling from Mazatlan.
Quema del Mal Humor / Bad Mood Burning takes place Saturday night of Carnival Week after dark on the Malecon at Olas Altas Beach. The event is very festive and very well attended.
There is a small admission charge of 30 pesos, the same ticket price that applies to all of the events over carnival that are within the cordon around the Centro Historico.
Video of Bad Mood Burning / Quema del Mal Humor in Mazatlan
Fireworks at Olas Altas Beach / Upcoming 2015 Mazatlan Carnival Events
Saturday February 14, 2015 (Starts sometime after 10pm)
Olas Altas Malecon / Just 30 pesos general admission!
This fireworks show is a dramatization of the defense of Mazatlan during the French Colonial invasion of 1864.
The pyrotechnics and sounds evoke the cannon fire exchanged during the battle with the French warship La Cordeliere and the British war sloop Charybdis.
Traditional fireworks are now joined by the effects generated by light and laser shows, and this Mazatlan Carnaval fireworks show is arguably the most popular event staged at Olas Altas Beach during carnival.
Video of Combate Naval / Naval Combat fireworks display in Mazatlan
Parade up the Malecon / Upcoming 2015 Mazatlan Carnival Events
Sunday February 15, 2015 (Starts sometime after 5pm)
Olas Altas Beach to Valentino's / Free!
Arguably the most iconic and universally anticipated event within any Mazatlan Carnaval calendar, the Inaugural Parade -- sometimes referred to as carriage float parade -- that is held on Sunday is at the top of every list of recommended carnival attractions.
The Malecon between the Fisherman's Monument and Valentino's is transformed by the ocean of revelers that line the waterfront.
This parade is northbound starting at the Fisherman's Monument. Its sister parade on Tuesday flows south and returns the carriage floats to the Centro Historico.
Time-lapse video of the Carnaval 2012 Inaugural Parade! Very Cool!
Coronation Stadium Event / Upcoming 2015 Mazatlan Carnival Events
Monday February 16, 2015 (6:30pm)
Estadio Teodoro Mariscal - Venados Stadium / 100 - 500 pesos
The Child Queen (Reina Infantil) is an important part of carnival in Mazatlan, and her coronation is one big party suitable...for...a...queen!
The tradition of a Child Queen dates from 1921, and the modern event is staged at Estadio Teodoro Mariscal (Venados Baseball Stadium).
The theme of the coronation of the Child Queen in 2014 was a tribute to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and the Zuszet Guevara was crowned 2014 Mazatlan Child Queen. The coronation featured the gorgeous and very talented Belinda Peregrín Schüll (known professionally simply as Belinda), a Spanish-born Mexican pop singer, songwriter and actress.
Banda bands in Concert / Upcoming 2015 Mazatlan Carnival Concerts
Monday February 16, 2015 (After Dark)
Olas Altas Malecon / 30 pesos general admission
On the Monday night of Carnaval 2015 there will be -- per tradition -- a big musical bash on the Malecon at Olas Altas Beach. This being Sinaloa, you can count on banda, and the 2014 Carnival did not disappoint!
Headliner Banda El Recodo de Chuy Lizarraga defines the tradition of banda in Mexico: the band was formed in Maatlan in 1938 and was celebrating its 75th anniversary with this carnival concert in Mazatlan!
They were joined by Banda Los Recoditos -- formed in 1989 -- a more eclectic, looser and hipper than most banda bands that showcased a repetoire that mixed Latin dance tunes, jazz, swing, and traditional Mexican songs.
The only cost for these Monday night -- and Tuesday night -- performances is the 30 peso charge to enter the part of the Centro Historico where access is restricted during the Mazatlan Carnaval.
Fireworks along the Malecon / Upcoming 2015 Mazatlan Carnival Events
Monday February 16, 2015 (10pm)
Avenida del Mar / Free!
The Festival de la Luz fireworks show in Mazatlan is unique.
This massive fireworks display is staged all along Avenida del Mar, and draws uncountable numbers of spectators.
The Festival of Lights fireworks in Mazatlan are only rivaled by Rio, New Orleans and Veracruz for the scale and impact of the fireworks display!
Parade down the Malecon / Upcoming 2015 Mazatlan Carnival Events
Tueday February 17, 2015 (Starts about 4pm)
Starts at the Aquarium and proceeds south along the Malecon / Free!
The closing parade marks the beginning of the end of the Mazatlan carnival.
Segundo Desfile de Carnaval -- the second and final parade of the Carnaval season -- starts at the Mazatlan Aquarium and flows south along the Malecon to the edge of the Centro Historico.
Far from a time of sadness, this last evening of revelry matches anything the preceded it, and the party continues long into the night!
Video of a 2014 Mazatlan Carnaval parade
• A large portion of the concerts and musical events at carnival take place on the Malecon at Olas Altas beach and in the Centro Historico adjacent to it.
Carnival 2014 featured nearly twenty bands playing nightly throughout carnaval week from 6pm til 4am!
Admission to the areas where the bands are playing is restricted, but tickets that allow you to roam the entire space and see all the bands and other performers are just 30 pesos and do not need to be purchased in advance -- you just buy them at the fence.
• Tickets for major Mazatlan Carnival events are purchased at the Angela Peralta ticket office -- even the events in Teodoro Mariscal / Venados Stadium.
Angela Peralta Theater box office hours are from 9am until 3pm and 5pm to 7pm. A ticket kiosk outside the theatre at the edge of Plaza Machado is open from 10am until 1pm and 3pm to 8pm.
Carnaval tickets are also available at kiosk in La Gran Plaza from 11am to 8pm every day.
• Spectacular fireworks play a big part in Mazatlan Carnival celebrations, with the two largest being staged on the Saturday night of carnival (Combate Naval) and Monday night (Festival de la Luz).
In recent years the traditional fireworks shows have been augmented with modern technology -- lights and lasers -- as well as music.
• No person is more central to Carnaval in Mazatlan than the Queen.
The first two Mazatlan carnivals -- 1898 and 1899 -- were presided over by an Ugly King (Rey Feo), a buffoon-like character. But that changed permanently in 1900 when a lovely North American named Wilfrida Farmer became the first Queen of Carnaval.
The beautiful Queen is now paired with Rey de la Alegría (King of Joy -- Rey Feo was re-named in 1965) who remains a part of the festival but is certainly not its superstar!
• Early parades were simple affairs -- people on bicycles, some costumes, some acoustic music. The modern Mazatlan Carnival parade is far from that, and incorporates all manner of sound systems, lights, costuming and glitter.
Parades are a very big part of Carnaval in Mazatlan -- as they are for carnival celebrations throughout the world -- and the floats, dancers and marchers in Mazatlan are world-class.
Carnival in Mazatlan is without a doubt one of the most vibrant celebrations in Mexico, and well-worth a trip to Mazatlan. Visit the 2014 Mazatlan Carnaval, experience the excitement and form memories that you will hold dear for the rest of your life!
The tradition of mid-winter festivals in Mazatlan is as old as the city itself, with masquerades and feasts referenced in histories that date from the time of the earliest setters in the early 1800s.
It is suggested by some historians that these festivals originally reflected the traditions of the indigenous population -- with some Spanish influence, much like the melding of early religeous practices. These celebrations are noted as early as 1823, immediately after Mexico became an independent nation and our port became even more open to international commerce.
Though "Carnaval" was noted in Mazatlan as early as 1848 -- it was mentioned in the Mazatlan newspaper La Lechuza -- it wasn’t until 50 years later than the event took its present form as a week-long multi-event blow-out complete with parades, floats, social events and an official King and Queen.
The very end of the 1800s -- 1898 to be exact -- marks when Mazatlan officially embraced the Mardi Gras tradition of Carnival, and there has been no turning back from this massive annual public party!
History notes that the early Mazatlan Carnivals -- pre 1898 -- were informal and often somewhat vulgar.
Women threw flour and hollow eggshells (cascarones) filled with glitter, and men responding by tossing ashes and dyes at the women.
These earliest Mazatlan Carnavals also included mock battles where rival groups -- dock workers and market workers -- shouted insults and taunts and threw rocks at eachother.
But in 1898 civic leaders headed by Dr. Martiniano Carvajal and a committee with an international flavor -- it supposedly included an Irishman, a German, a Spaniard and an Italian -- organized a parade made up of carriages and bicycles "to eradicate the immoral flour and replace it with the pure and more restrained confetti."
The event was focused within Plaza Machado and the nearby Centro Historico streets, but rapidly, carnival spilled out of the Centro Historico and spread north from Olas Altas Beach up Paseo Claussen.
The parades and events of the modern Mazatlan Carnaval now stretch north of the Golden Zone and into neighborhoods inland from the Malecon and, while todays Carnaval may not involve tossing flour, it is hardly restrained!
Mardi Gras in Mazatlan is one of the biggest and best bashes anywhere in the Americas that sees thousands of costumed revellers thronging the Malecon and beaches.
The modern Mazatlan Carnaval combines the best of the history of traditional carnivals with the excitement of modern technology -- each evening of Carnival Week the Malecon, Olas Altas Beach and the Centro Historico become the perfect stage for this singing and dancing Bacchanalia, with parades, outdoor concerts, fireworks, sound and light shows and beer for everyone stretching farther north than the eye can see!