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Thursday, December 8, 2022

Ignoring City Hall, Progreso residents plan Citizen Carnaval’

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
A Carnaval float full of dancers on Progreso’s Malecon during 2019 Carnaval. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Residents of Progreso have decided to go ahead with Carnaval celebrations on Feb 26, despite a clear rebuke from City Hall. 

The event, organized by volunteers, will feature many of the same attractions it always has, including floats, a parade, and plenty of brightly colored costumes.

“This is our Carnaval and will have no involvement from the city government. We are doing it for ourselves with our own money,” said organizer Lucrecia Lombardo. 

After the traditional parade full of dancers down Progreso’s Malecon, festivities are scheduled to continue well into the night.

Resources generated by the event will be donated to animal welfare charities in the port city, which offer spaying and neutering programs to try to help contain the growing number of strays.

Progreso’s City Hall announced that it would once again be canceling Carnaval celebrations out of safety concern regarding the spread of COVID-19. 

Officials have not commented on the unauthorized celebration, which would possibly attempt to bring parade floats onto Progreso’s now-pedestrian-only boardwalk

Earlier: Who remembers when Mérida celebrated Carnaval in the Centro?

The king and queen of Progreso’s “Citizen Carnaval” are to be Eric Fernando Mensa Sosa and Chary US Arzoa. The organizing committee has also announced that the LGBTQ+ community will be represented by the popular entertainer Jessica Escalante, known locally as “Kika.”

A packed Malecon during Progreso’s 2019 Carnaval, complete with floats from gay strip clubs. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Historically, Progreso’s Carnaval has been dwarfed by Mérida’s much larger celebrations. But since Mérida’s Carnaval was moved out of Paseo de Montejo to Xmatkuil’s fairgrounds, attendance has been suffering.

As a result, before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Carnaval festivities in Progreso had been booming.  

“The Carnaval in Progreso is just much more fun than out at Xmatkuil, also it’s faster and easier to get to. Besides after the parade you can enjoy a beer, some seafood and jump into the ocean, what could be better?,” said Mérida resident, Adan Estrada on Facebook. 

For its part, Mérida last hosted a Carnaval at the Xmatkuil fairgrounds just before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in late February 2020. As was the case in 2021, this year’s Carnaval celebrations in Mérida have been canceled.

Related: A previous Progreso Carnival marred by bad behavior

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