Arona Carnaval Rides Off Into The Sunset

It was the hangmans noose that caught my eye, swinging from its wooden frame at the Los Cristianos showground. The wild west came to Arona as the theme of this years Carnaval and it was a big hit with The Good, The Bad, And The Cuddly.

There were some bold tweaks to the programme, the Cabalgata opening parade set the tone adding a splash of colour to Veronicas in Playa de Las Americas as the dance troops and murgas assembled. Making their way to the edge of Los Cristianos the parade added some new converts to the Carnaval cause while my attention was rounded up by the high kicking cowgirls.

Back at the showground – AKA the Valdes Centre car park, the main stage was taking shape with a western town look featuring the frontage of a bank and saloon. The Carnaval Queen election was predictably late starting but the large seated crowd showed no sign of being restless and the pre election show was a whirlwind skip through the founding of the wild west with shoot outs, indians and the cavalry all playing their part.

Natalia Suarez (above) swapped her stetson for a Queens crown as late night revelry took us into Saturday and another new feature, the Day Carnaval. The showground served up a Bonanza of live music and the young guns were looked after at the church plaza with face painting and murgas performing their kazoo inspired music. Day turned into night and the showground was thumping well into the early hours but next morning at 9 am I looked in to hopefully catch an early glimpse of the classic car display due at 10.30. It was buzzing with cleaning activity from Arona council’s finest, spraying, brushing and wombling up the mess, they always come up trumps at the big events.

Rushing back from seeing CD Tenerife shooting blanks in a 0-0 draw I dived in to the full glory of the Coso parade as they slapped on the make up and adjusted their dresses at the Paloma beach assembly point. The cavalcade of colour seemed longer than ever and the enthusiasm shone through during the hot two hour dance of delight up to the Cultural Centre. People hung over balconies, sat on parents shoulders, and climbed every tree and wall possible to get a better view of the lovingly crafted costumes. Shedding their bright skins the multi coloured army took to the showground to pulverise their aching feet with joyous dancing in a zone where the clock has no meaning.

It’s always sad to say farewell to Carnaval but at least it was done in traditional style with Monday’s sardine funeral. The usual suspects were there, wailing mourners exposing a bizarre variety of underwear, mock clergy with their own special holy water, and the star of the show, a huge cheecky faced sardine, blissfully unaware of it’s fate. Los Cristianos was bouncing, crying, singing, and drinking as they propelled the doomed fish along the back streets and down to the beach. Mourners were eventually forced to withdraw from the sardines side and as the flames leapt up the scales and the fireworks went off the dancing and partying was re-ignited for one last late blow out.

As Carnavals go this years will be talked about by old cowboys for a long time to come but for now it was time to catch up on some sleep as we all faced the end. Some were a bit more saddle sore than others, you can see the full gallery of photos here.