Posts Tagged ‘International Festival of Puebla’

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Cinco de Mayo 2013: The Celebrations in Puebla

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

Cinco de Mayo has come to represent a lot of things in the United States, from public demonstrations of Mexican-American pride to massive fiestas sponsored by beer and tequila companies. Colorful parades, street fairs, art exhibitions, and margarita-themed bar nights can be found in scores of cities nationwide.

In Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is a lower-key affair, unless you happen to be in Puebla. Here, visitors and locals alike can enjoy a month’s worth of diverse events, starting in mid-April. This includes the huge calendar of activities and performances scheduled as part of the annual Feria de Puebla and the Festival Internacional 5 de Mayo.

For the uninitiated, May 5 is a state holiday that commemorates the triumph of a scrappy band of Mexican soldiers and locals over the French army in the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Although their victory was short-lived, their initial win was arguably one of the more significant events in modern North American history. After all, if Napoleon III’s troops had made it to Texas to support the Confederacy during the U.S. Civil War … well, let’s just be glad they didn’t and thank Mexico for stalling them.

If you’re in the state capital for the 151st anniversary of Cinco de Mayo in 2013, here are a few ways that you can join the celebration.

Festival Internacional 5 de Mayo

Julieta Venegas performing at the Int'l Festival of Puebla in 2008.Expected to draw 1 million visitors to the city of Puebla this year, this 20-day cultural arts festival comprises myriad free events. The concert, dance, and theatrical performances by regional, national, and international talent take place at nine different venues between noon and 10 p.m. through May 5.

A few highlights:
• World-renowned violinist Joshua Bell, April 22, 6 p.m., Puebla Cathedral
Puebla State Symphony Orchestra, April 25, 7 p.m., San Pedro Museo del Arte
• Mexican rockers El Gran Silencio, April 26, 8 p.m., Antigua Fábrica de los Angeles
• Folk singer-songwriter Julieta Venegas, April 26, 8:30 p.m. Foro Artístico, Centro Expositor
• Alternative singer-songwriter Ely Guerra, April 27, 8 p.m., Estadio Cuauhtémoc

Feria de Puebla

Pablo tries to win me a plush toy shooting hoops.The Puebla State Fair, which runs April 13 to May 12, offers the kind of family-oriented fun you’d find at a state or county fair anywhere: arcade games, carnival rides, junk food, beer stands, arts & crafts, flea market goods, and live entertainment. Everything takes place in and around the Centro Expositor that’s situated smack-dab in the middle of the hilltop Cinco de Mayo forts, Loreto and Guadalupe. General admission is 20 pesos (10 pesos for kids); tickets to the evening concerts and bullfights cost extra.

Free shows in the Foro Artístico:
Hermanos Castro and José Feliciano, April 21, 8:30 p.m.
• Grammy-winning rockers Reik, April 27, 8:30 p.m.
• Pop singer-songwriter Paty Cantú, May 1, 8:30 p.m.A float in Puebla’s 2010 Cinco de Mayo parade touts the state’s culinary prowess.

Some notable Palenque performances:
• Norteño superstars Los Tigres del Norte, April 26, 11 p.m., 400 to 1,200 pesos
• Singer-songwriter Espinoza Paz, April 27, 11 p.m., 600 to 1,600 pesos
• Ranchera and pop crooner Alejandro Fernández, May 3 and 4, 11 p.m., 900 to 2,900 pesos
• Grammy-winning mariachi Pepe Aguilar, May 10, 11 p.m., 600 to 1,500 pesos

Cinco de Mayo Parade

Every year, thousands of students, charros, military, and public-safety personnel march — alongside scores of colorful floats — in the state’s annual Cinco de Mayo parade, which this year is slated for 11 a.m. on May 5.

Official details for this year’s event apparently have yet to be announced (and our social media queries to organizers have gone unanswered). The state government appears to be reconsidering its controversial 2012 decision to change the parade route, which worked well for TV cameras but not for the viewing public. We’re hopeful that its original path, which followed 5 de Mayo Blvd., from Plaza Dorada to the hilltop forts, will be restored.

We’ll update this post as parade information becomes available.

April 25 update: This year’s Cinco de Mayo parade is set to follow the traditional path, only in reverse. The 3.5-kilometer route (click here for map) will start at the monument to Gen. Zaragoza on Calzada Zaragoza/2 Norte and follow Blvd. Heroes del 5 de Mayo to Parque Juárez. Final details will be announced Friday, according to a local media report.

April 29 update: The new state tourism secretary tweets that some 29,000 bleacher and other seats will be made available free of charge to parade spectators.

—Rebecca Smith Hurd

Post updated May 4, 2013.

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Posted in Arts + Culture, Do, Featured, History | 10 Comments »

Culture Vultures Flock to Puebla

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Julieta Venegas performed at the 10th Annual Int'l Festival of Puebla in 2008.Where can you see 170 live performances over ten consecutive days at some 20 participating venues citywide (plus a few more farther afield)? At the International Festival of Puebla, which has rapidly grown into one of the largest, most celebrated events in central Mexico. Designed to promote cultural awareness and appreciation, the festival — previously held in November — begins its 12th annual run today and continues through May 30. More than 300,000 residents and tourists are expected to attend.

The festival brings together artists from all disciplines and corners of the globe to share their talents and, of course, entertain the masses. It offers something for everyone, from children’s storytellers and folkloric ballet to rock concerts and film screenings.

This year’s lineup includes superstars like Grammy-winning American jazz pianist Chick Corea, renowned Spanish flamenco singer Diego “El Cigala,” esteemed Mexican poet José Emilio Pacheco, popular Columbian rockers Aterciopelados, and the French-Canadian circus troupe Les Parfaits Inconnus. Of course, scores of lesser-known acts will perform, too.

“The festival allows poblanos and visitors renew their spirits, enjoy the talents of participating local artists, and admire the artistic sensibilities of creators from other latitudes—all of which enrich the cultural mosaic of Puebla,” Alejandro Montiel Bonilla, the state’s secretary of culture, says on the official website.

The complete roster (available in Spanish only) features local, regional, national, and international artists; listings may be searched by date, type of event, or location. Many of the happenings are free; it’s unclear whether tickets to select events will be sold this year. The major stages are in the zócalo and at the BUAP’s Complejo Cultural, on Vía Atlixcáyotl in San Andrés Cholula.

What’s On in the Zócalo

May 22: Mono Blanco, son jarocho, 6:45pm
May 22: Los Folkloristas, folklore, 8pm
May 23: 5th Element, jazz, 6pm
May 23: Chick Corea, Eddie Gómez, and Antonio Sánchez, jazz, 8pm
May 24: Chucho Valdés, jazz, 8pm
May 25: Cabezas de Cera, progressive rock, 6:30pm
May 25: Stick Men, experimental music, 8pm
May 26: Héctor Talavera and Company, flamenco, 7pm
May 26: Diego “El Cigala,” flamenco, 8pm
May 28: Zapatitos de Gamuza, son cubano, 7pm
May 28: Azúcar Negra, Afro-Cuban music, 8pm
May 30: Mon Dongó, Latin fusion, 6pm
May 30: Sonora Balkanera, Balkan beat, 7pm
May 30: Radaid, world music, 8pm

(Photograph of Chick Corea on home page by Daniele Marcucci/Wikicommons.)

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