Coso Fever Scorches Through Los Cristianos

Some people turn their nose up at the sardine, some prefer their slippers to late night dancing shoes, and some haven’t got the patience to sit through the spectacular stage shows. But every year when Arona Carnaval looms up on the horizon, everyone wants to know the details of the big Coso parade on the final Sunday.

Certain elements hold true every year, parking spaces are like the Holy Grail, prime viewing spots start to get bagged from mid day, and the sun cranks the heat up a few notches. This year 60 groups took part in the parade, I joined the preparation down by Paloma Beach ten minutes before the advertised off, that’s an hour and ten minutes before the eventual wagons roll. It looks chaotic but there is a system, assembly points were chalked on the road surface and organizers with clipboards rounded up and checked dancers and other performers in various states of transformation. The sky was clear and the drinks were pouring, crafty drags on ciggies were calming nerves, and face make up was setting within seconds of being applied.

The Arona Carnaval theme, Olympus this year, was just a rough guide, there are always annual favourites like Elvis, Michael Jackson, and Freddy Kreugar – now that’s a supergroup I would buy tickets to see. For the dance schools and groups Carnaval is the culmination of a year of hard work, just a quick glance at the costumes shows the amount of hours that are put in to ensure they don’t just look brilliant, but also synchronized. The drummers at the front set the pace and once they strike up their rhythm everyone falls into line and the slow process of turning the corner onto the main stretch of road begins.

The Carnaval Queen, Dames of Honour, Infantil Queen, and other runners up wave from on high on the back of big trucks, well it takes a big stage to hold their magnificent outfits. This year Andrea Barriero Monroy was elected Queen in a pink and white blaze of splendor and Cynthia Padilla was a close second in her teal and silver creation. It’s all very impressive but my favourites are the ones that interact with the crowds, a close up wave or a blown kiss to a small child soon lights up their faces and a few mature ladies squealed with surprise when given a cuddle by Harpo Marx or a German general.

It was a bit of a squeeze at the finishing point behind the cultural centre and a logistical nightmare for the police and stewards but as always it went pretty smoothly and participants were able to peel off their costumes and cool down. There was just enough energy left for the last big night of dancing by the main stage. Well done to all who put on such a great show and of course the council clean up crew who follow the parade to purge the streets.