Another installment of the Feria Nacional del Chiverre, or the National Squash Fair, begins today in Zarcero. The five-day festival blends together a packed schedule that includes dancing, local food, and cimarronas.
Chiverre (cucurbita ficifolia) is a type of squash that sometimes looks identical to a watermelon. Behemoth in size and flexible in use, the vegetable becomes a staple during Semana Santa and is used to make empanadas, a sweet jelly and other dishes.
The 11th annual festival that takes place in the chiverre’s name will be based out of the Plaza de Deportes de Laguna de Alfaro Ruíz in Zarcero, Alajuela. As a fair catering to families, a variety of parades and animal exhibitions are among the many events planned. The iconic march of disciplined, high-stepping horses called tope is a traditional Costa Rican activity that will premiere on Friday afternoon.
The festivities start off with an official inauguration today at 3 p.m. on the fairgrounds.
Jose Martínez, the press executive at the Instituto de Tourism Costarricense, said that around 30,000 people are expected to attend the fair. Entrance is free.