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Huge headliner Juanes returns for Merida’s ‘Nuevo Carnaval’

Carnaval committee announces all the parades and concerts, and even a canine comparsa

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Juanes’ 2011 concert for Merida Fest attracted 90,000 fans. Photo: File

International pop star Juanes, who rocked Merida Fest in 2011, returns for the “Nuevo Carnaval” this year.

The Colombian singer, known for the hit “La Camisa Negra,” appears on stage Saturday, March 2 at the Xmatkuil fairgrounds’ Centro de Espectáculos Montejo.

The Carnaval committee elaborated on its plans Thursday at a presentation, gathering the media at the lake on the new La Isla complex. The choice of venue was meant to reflect the fresh approach they promised to bring to the celebration.

Juanes is a big “get” for the Carnaval. When he performed at the 2011 Merida Fest, more than 90,000 fans crowded the Paseo de Montejo, chanting his name.

Leading up to the concert are two weeks of Carnaval activities.

On Saturday, Feb. 16, the traditional comparsas contest — a challenge for costumed singers, dances and musicians — will be held at the Parque de la Aleman at 6 p.m.

On Sunday, Feb. 17, a coronation of senior and disabled “kings” and “queens” will be held at the baseball field in Col. Pacabtún, followed by a party with live music.

On Saturday, Feb. 23, the child and youth coronation will be held at the new La Isla Auditorium at 6 p.m.

The burning of the bad mood will be 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27 where the sovereigns Oscar “Cocotazo” de la O and Branda “la Abejita” Cruz will also be crowned, in the Central de Abastos. Live music by the group Intocable follows.

The action moves to the Plaza Grande on Thursday, Feb. 28 with the children’s parade at 4:30 p.m. and the first canine comparsa in the Carnaval’s history.

Starting on Friday, March 1, all the action moves to Plaza Carnaval in Xmatkuil. The desfile de corzo — the first parade — will start at 8:30 p.m. with celebrities Isabel Madow, Maya Karuna and José Ron as special guests.

That will be followed by performances from Los Socios del Ritmo, Alexander Acha and Big Metra on the same stage.

The fantasy parade — the Carnaval highlight — will be 8 p.m. Saturday, March 2. Celebrity guests include Esmeralda Ugalde, Roberto Carlo and Margarita Magaña. That will be followed by the Juanes concert.

On Sunday, March 3, the traditionally music-driven bachata parade will start at 1 p.m. with Pedro Prieto, Vanesa Arias and Lambda García riding on floats.

Panamanian raggaeton singer Joey Montana will perform in concert that evening.

The traditional regional parade will be 8 p.m. Monday, March 4 with Ivonne Soto and Yurem.

On the last day, the battle of flowers will be at 1 p.m. Tuesday, March 5, with Brenda Zambrano and Gabriela Ruiz of the reality show “Acapulco Shore” with Vadhir Derbez, who played a young version of his real-life father, Eugenio Derbez, in the film “How To Be a Latin Lover.”

To finish, on Wednesday, March 6, the “Juan Carnaval” funeral will take place at 8 p.m. with the Cuxum regional theater company.

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