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Yucatán’s Xmatkuil state fair to make its comeback in November

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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.
State fair organizers say that they are confident this year’s event will be the best attended ever. Photo: Courtesy. 

Yucatán’s state fair will return to Xmatkuil on Nov. 4 after a three-year absence.

The event will go on for a full month, with events wrapping up Dec. 4. 

In 2018, the fairgrounds in Mérida’s south attracted more than two million visitors, according to official records.

The festivities will kick off with the fair’s traditional cattle auction, which until the 1990s was considered the festival’s main event.  

Aside from cattle, other animals such as sheep, turkeys, and swine are also displayed and sold. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

But in recent decades, the Feria de Xmatkuil, as it is known locally, has become best known for its concerts, mechanical rides, and food stalls. 

The fair has also become an important distribution point for merchants from across the country who come to sell wares including Talavera-style plates from Puebla and ceramics from Mexico State.

The Xmatkuil fair is also well known for its “freak show” exhibits, which despite not delivering what their signs promise, are often good for a laugh, especially as they are inexpensive. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

Other events such as mixed martial arts exhibitions, wrestling matches, and dog shows have also been recently introduced in an effort to diversify the fairs’ offerings.

Earlier: Mérida’s gradual return to a full cultural schedule is complete

That being said, the fair still retains much of its original purpose, serving as an important market for farmers.

“We have been working to make Xmatkuil a reality in 2022 for months now but had decided to not announce anything until we got the green light from the government,” said event organizer Esteban Abraham Macari. 

The return of the state fair, along with an expanded Carnaval program and other massive events such as Tahmek’s Mayan Balloon Festival, represent for many that the COVID-19 pandemic is “effectively over” in Yucatán. 

But state authorities continue to stress the importance of vaccinations, as well as wearing facemasks, especially indoors.

“We have worked too hard and sacrificed too much to let our guard down now,” said Yucatán Gov. Mauricio Vila Dosal.

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