Festival in Palmares readied for a 13-day run

The party has not ended. The Fiestas Palmares kicks off Jan. 15 for another carnival for Costa Ricans.

The event does not end until Jan. 27 so there are two weekends to enjoy the annual event put on by the Asociación Civica Palmareña.

One of the principal attractions is what organizers of the fiestas call the biggest tope in the country. This gigantic horse parade will begin at noon on the second day of the fiestas, Jan 16.

The opening Jan. 15 will feature a parade of faroles, those colonial style street lanterns, mascaradas, clowns and the release of balloons.

All those bulls that battered the overly brave in Zapote are going, too. The first bull fight a la Tica is Sunday, Jan. 19.

Organizers note that the fiestas are 54 kilometers or about 34 miles from San José. That’s about 75 minutes without traffic jams, an announcement said. The problem is that traffic is heavy for the event. Even worse, some drivers spend too much time at the beer tent and end up driving home impaired. Traffic police are on the prowl for these individuals with checkpoints on major highways.

Many Central Valley residents take buses which are dedicated for the special event.

Saturday Mexican singer Aida Cuervas headlines the Festival Ranchero at 7 p.m. There also is a singing contest that evening. The 50-year-old Ms. Cuevas is one of the best known ranchero singers. She has done 35 albums and in 2010 received her first Grammy Latino for her tango album.

The Ranchero event has an admission fee but there are a number of free events scheduled. Among these is a children’s festival Jan. 21, starting at 9 a.m.

There also is a 32.8 kilometer mountain bike race Saturday, Jan. 18, and a half marathon Jan. 25. Both require advanced registrations.

The Carnaval Palmares, which is basically a big parade with floats and bands, is Jan. 24 starting at 4:30 p.m.

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