Women in skimpy costumes, bizarre fancy dress, industrial quantities of alcohol, and ear splittingly loud music into the small hours. Arona Carnaval serves all these ingredients up on my own doorstep, well a short walk down the hill, but as it has a duty to delight all the municipality the opening Cabalgata parade started in Playa de Las Americas just outside Veronicas.
The threat of heavy storms hung over the big launch but that didn’t stop the party people from squeezing into their dresses, tunics, and high heels. Parents passed on their Carnaval make up skills to the next generation as they preened and polished the young guns ready to set off down Avenida Rafael Puig Lluvina. Brazil was the theme vaguely kept in mind but basically it was a dressing up box free for all driven along by the usual strident drum rhythms. Crowds were big all along the route and the rain held off, the smiles and kisses radiated out from the dancers and tipsy holiday makers came out from bars and restaurants to do their dad or mum at a wedding routine with the sort of dance moves that would make Bruce Forsyth’s wig spin.
Gloomy stall holders around the showground in Los Cristianos had a few lean days as the rain lashed down and gales rattled the stage but it all held together and the sun was back in time for the main stage events. The following Saturday was the all day Carnaval and on a scorching hot afternoon I started at the showground mingling among the music fans enjoying a string of dance and pop acts. The Espacio 40 Principales show brought a younger mix of acts rather than the usual old favourites and had people up and bopping as they clinked and clanked endless bottles and glasses of happy juice.
The all dayer brings out families with cute photogenic kids, and yummy mummies distracting me at every turn. The smell of the food stalls adds to the atmosphere and the mojitos were proving to be the favoured form of refreshment. There was more action to be found at the Plaza del Pescadora down near the old beach so I wandered off there to check it out. A couple of free face painting stalls has been set up along the way and young singers and dance groups were gathering ready for their turn on the plaza stage.
The party mood was infectious and older holiday makers were shimmying in their sandals and shaking surplus sun cream off their gyrating bodies. As well as the performers there were contestants lurking around for the later fancy dress competition, all very ingenious but a bit hot in the full blaze of the sun. Ice cream and cold drinks were flying off the shelves of nearby shops, and restaurants and cafes where the views were good had full tables. The sea was calm and twinkling and the sand soft and sizzling, all that and free music wafting across – we really do spoil our holiday makers.
Heading back towards the showground there was a bonus attraction as more drum based groups performed outside the Cultural Centre. With the election of the drag queen set for the evening it was shaping up for another late night and the previous night had only finished at 5 am. Deep breath, the Coso Parade and Sardine Funeral were still to come.