Mazatlan Carnival / Carnaval de Mazatlan 2017 - The Mazatlan Travel Guide to upcoming concerts, parades, coronations, kings, queens, fireworks shows, future events schedules, buying tickets and news about the 2017 Carnival in Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico - Pearl of The Pacific!
Keep the dates Thursday February 23 until Tuesday February 28, 2017 open -- that's Carnival 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 2017 Mazatlan Carnaval, centered on the Malecon, will continue the 119 year tradition and attract hundreds of thousands of people from all around the world.
2016 Mazatlan Carnival official video
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.
Our updated projected 2017 Mazatlan Carnival Event Schedule -- based upon 2016 Carnaval dates, times and admission / ticket prices -- can be downloaded from this site by clicking here.
Visit Mazatlan, Sinaloa, at Carnival and experience the party of a lifetime!
Buying 2017 Mazatlán Carnaval event tickets
Tickets for all 2017 Carnival events -- including events held at the Venados baseball stadium -- will be on sale at the Angela Peralta ticket office in the Centro Historico from 9am until 3pm and from 5pm until 7pm after New Year 2017.
A kiosk outside the Angela Peralta Theater in Plaza Machado will also sell Carnival event tickets from 10am until 1pm and from 3pm until 8pm.
Another option is to buy 2017 Carnival event tickets at the kiosk within the Gran Plaza Mall which is open from 11am until 8pm after New Year 2017.
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 during the holidays and after new year.
While at the time of this writing Carnaval 2017 is still months away, it is never to early to start planning for this annual festival -- in a very real sense, the 2017 Mazatlan Carnaval has already begun!
Wednesday November 16, 2016 2017 Carnival Theme and Candidates Announced!
Last night hundreds of people gathered at the Angela Peralta Theater and the Plaza Machado for the announcement of the 2017 Mazatlan Carnival theme and candidates.
Per Mazatlan tradition, they expected a big show -- and they weren't disappointed!
With an elaborately staged performance full of mystery, magic and adventure that fused music, dance, and multimedia audiovisual effects, the Mazatlan Carnival Committee announced the theme of Carnival Mazatlan 2017 to attendees within the theater and those watching on a big screen in the plaza.
The 2017 Mazatlan Carnival theme is... De Alebrijes y Dragones (Of Alebrijes and Dragons)
A note for those not familiar with the term "Alebrije" An Alebrije is a colorful Mexican folk art sculpture depicting a mythical being that is made up of parts of different real and imaginary animals such as wolf teeth, dog or cat eyes, bat wings, serpent bodies -- pretty much anything that the designers' imagination can come up with.
Alebrijes come in all sizes, from tiny examples to huge rolling sculptures like you will see at Mazatlan Carnival in 2017. You have probably seen smaller Alebrijes in stores that sell traditional Mexican handicrafts. They are usually carved out of wood but are occasionally made with paper maché, which was the original medium.
The creation of Oaxacan folk artist Pedro Linares Lopez who first imagined them while experiencing fevered dreams brought on by illness when he was a young man in the 1930s, Alebrijes are now an integral part of Mexico's folk art tradition and are often exhibited in fine art galleries throughout the country.
The 2017 Mazatlan Carnival theme and candidate announcement was produced by Instituto de Cultura de Mazatlán (Institute of Culture of Mazatlan) and flowed seamlessly under the artistic direction of the Monserrat Millán who directed more than 50 dancers, students of the Centro de Arte Danzario Vilanova, as well as other guest performers.
The highly festive event included the luminous appearance of the great dragons, Alebrijes that Mazatlan will long remember: Andromeda, a medieval dragon that will appear in all the activities associated with the Carnival Queen; Aquarium who will accompany the Queen of the Floral Games; Draco, who will be present in the activities of the King of Joy and Pollux, the dragon that will serve our Child Queen.
Following the appearance of the dragons the Carnival Comittee announced the five candidates for Mazatlan Carnival 2017 King of Joy who are Jorge Luna, Carlos Enrique Murillo Ruelas, Emanuel Navarro Copado, Jesus Antonio Ochoa Pérez and Guillermo Osuna.
Candidates for the 2017 Child Queen crown were then announced before cheering supporters:
Ivanna Dozal (6 years old), Alín Monserrat Lizárraga Aguilar (9 years old) and Virginia Ramírez Astorga (10 years old).
Following the announcement of the King of Joy and Child Queen candidates, the candidates for Queen of the Mazatlan Carnival 2017 were announced to the jubilation of the crowd, both inside and outside the Angela Peralta Theater:
Meyvol Alankaris Arcadia Ríos, Viviana Carolina Avena Valdez, Anabel Romero García, Carolina González Barraza, Catalina Vargas Robinson, María José Padilla, Rubi Tirado Amador and Rosina Yáñez Millán.
This big pre-Carnival event was attended by the reigning royalty of the 2016 Mazatlan Carnival: Daniela, Blanca, Bernardo, Ignacio, Emilia and Diseret.
The presentation of 2017 Carnival candidates had a festive close in the Plaza Machado where crowds of people greeted the aspirants to the crowns of Carnival Mazatlan 2017 and enjoyed a fireworks show that arched over a shower of confetti -- all accompanied by the pulsating music of La Banda La Mazatleca!
As in past years, production and presentation of Carnival Mazatlan 2017 shows and events will be managed by the Municipal Institute of Culture, Tourism and Art under the direction of Raul Rico Gonzalez.
Scheduled pre-Carnival Events 2017
Saturday February 18, 2017 / 8pm / AP Theater / 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 previous years this exciting event has been conducted by Maestro Enrique Patron de Reuda, and featured performances by Orquesta Sinfonica Sinaloa de las Artes (OSSLA).
Thursday February 23, 2017 / 2pm - 7pm / Centro Historico / Free! Muestra Gastronómica food festival at Plaza Machado
The run-up to 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 7:30pm.
Muestra Gastronomica continues every afternoon during carnival.
Thursday February 23, 2017 / 7:30pm / Terraza Las Pargos / 500 pesos Annual Masquerade Ball / Baile de Fantasía
The annual Carnaval Mazatlan costume ball marks the start of Carnival nightlife.
Featuring beautiful ambassador-queens from many countries, these women compete for the honor of riding on floats in the inaugural and end of Carnival parades.
Tickets for this event, held at Terraza Las Pargos (Chamelta 230 / Playa Sur), can be purchased at the Angela Peralta Theater ticket office, the ticket kiosk at Plaza Machado or the kiosk at the Gran Plaza Mall.
Filled with music, dancing and wonderful food, this is a Carnival event not to be missed -- unless you need to be at the Carnival King Coronation, which is held at Olas Altas Beach at the same time...
Thursday February 23, 2017 (7:30pm) Olas Altas Malecon / Just 40 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 4th 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 Alegria, 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 2016 the Mazatlan King's coronation was definitely a Banda Bash, with musical entertainment by Julio Preciado, Kevin Ortiz and Banda La Divina!
Let the street party begin!
Video of the crowining of the 2014 Mazatlan Carnaval King
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.
The theme for the 2016 Floral Games concert was "Friday Night Fever", and the concert was tribute to the music of the 1970s and 1980s by Abba, the Bee Gees, Gloria Gaynor and many more. Performers included Maria Del Sol, Fela Dominguez and special guest star Al McKay, guitarist and composer of Earth, Wind and Fire -- all backed by the magnificent Sinaloa Symphony Orchestra!
Imagine this: Cultura promises that the 2017 Mazatlan Floral games concert will be even more entertaining!
Visit the 2017 Mazatlan Floral Games: it is a beautiful evening, and a highly recommended way to begin Carnaval!
Crowning of the Queen of the 2014 Mazatlan Juegos Florales video
Saturday February 25, 2017 (10:30pm) Olas Altas Malecon / Free along the Malecon!
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 2016
Sunday February 26, 2017 (5:30pm) 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!
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 of the Mazatlan Carnival dates from 1921, and the modern child queen coronation is staged at Estadio Teodoro Mariscal (Venados Baseball Stadium).
Emilia's 2016 Child Queen coronation was held at a gala event held at Theodoro Mariscal Stadium on February 8th, 2016. This Mazatlan Carnival 2016 event featured the music of the wildly popular singing duo Ha*Ash.
Monday February 27, 2017 (After Dark) Olas Altas Malecon / Just 40 pesos general admission!
On the Monday night of Carnaval 2017 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 2016 Carnival did not disappoint!
The only cost for these Monday night -- and Tuesday night -- performances is the 40 peso charge to enter the part of the Centro Historico where access is restricted during the Mazatlan Carnaval.
• 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 2016 featured over twenty bands playing nightly throughout carnaval week from 6pm until 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 40 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 Estadio Teodoro Mariscal / Venados Stadium -- after New Year.
Angela Peralta Theater box office hours are from 9am until 3pm and 5pm to 7pm. A ticket kiosk outside the theater 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 after New Year.
• 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 2017 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.
Modern Mazatlan Carnavals have themes that serve to unify the appearance of the floats, dancers and other performers. The tradition of a carnival theme dates from 1943, when Mexico had just joined the allied side in WWII after German submarines had sunk Mexican ships. Mazatlan decided to create a theme for the 1943 carnival that expressed the hope of victory: "El Carnaval de la Victoria" - The Carnival of Victory.
In 1962 the concept of a carnival theme became official, and each Mazatlan Carnaval since has had an official theme, the 2016 theme being Mazatlantida: La alegoría que emergió de las olas (The Allegory that Emerges From the Waves).
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! Download free 2017 Mazatlan Carnaval Events Schedule!