XMATKUIL, YUCATAN – The Feria Yucatán 2014 got underway at the Xmatkuil fairgrounds on November 7th, and, as always, is proving a huge attraction, despite the unseasonably cool weather we have experienced over the last week.
On Friday November 14th, saw the annual Gran Vaqueria, a traditional colonial hacienda style dance and party, where villages throughout the state are represented, competing with each other for the most spectacular dress, and best jarana dancing. Always spectacular, this year’s event was as colorful as ever, with hundreds of ladies dressed in their finest huipils, accompanied by traditionally dressed men in guayaberas and jipijapa hats (a local variation of the Panama hat).
The annual Feria Yucatán is the largest event in the southeast of Mexico, featuring more than 1000 exhibitors, and over 1800 artistic, sporting, cultural, recreational and specialized shows for all ages of visitor.
Big name stars perform concerts in three locations, one of which (the Teatro del Pueblo) is free of charge, and there is a huge range of food and beverages available for purchase throughout the fair. Modern fairground rides are a big draw for many, and, since this is also a farming event, there are competitions to judge the best cattle, sheep, horses, and goats.
If you’ve never been to a state fair in Mexico, the Feria Yucatán is well worth a visit, to absorb the sights and sounds of a traditional event in a safe, friendly atmosphere.
The fair runs until Sunday 30th November, and is open daily from 10am until well after midnight. If you would like to visit without the crowds, weekdays before 6pm are the best time to go, while weekday evenings tend to be busy, but without vast crowds.
Friday evenings, and all day Saturday and Sunday are, predictably the busiest times, so be prepared to share the fairgrounds with plenty of other people if you visit at those times.
The fairgrounds are vast however, so even on a busy evening, you can always find a quiet corner to relax and regroup, before rejoining the party.
Entrance to the fair costs $15 pesos per person, and car parking is $30 pesos per car. Many attractions are free; others have a small charge of $15 pesos per person, while the fairground rides are between $10 pesos and $50 pesos per ride.
To get to the fairgrounds by car, take Calle 50 south, past the periferico, and continue all the way south to Xmatkuil. There is also a bus service, running from the corner of Calle 56 and Calle 69, in centro.
By Stewart Mandy
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Born in Europe, raised in the Middle East, and a long-time resident in the Americas, Stewart has been based in Mérida, Yucatan since 2010, and has lived and worked worldwide in the media, travel, tourism and transportation industries for well over 20 years. His local contacts and global knowledge provide him with unmatched access to the stories ‘behind the stories’ and he likes to take you to the places that others don’t or won’t go. From the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego, from Moscow to Melbourne, from Bergen to Buenos Aires, Stewart has been there. Chances are, wherever you are heading, he knows the score.
In addition to The Yucatan Times, Stewart contributes (or has contributed) to “The Examiner” (www.examiner.com), “Business Briefings”, “Cruise & Ferry Magazine” and “The Apollo Magazine”. He is a former editor of “rolling pin CRUISE” magazine.
He can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. You can join him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/meridawriter, follow him on Twitter @stewartmandy or visit his website at www.stewartmandy.com or his blog at http://tolocsandaluxes.blogspot.mx/
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