The lure of the Zapote fiesta is much more than groups of daredevils teasing bulls in an arena. Much of the action is outside the bull ring. There are food vendors with massive amounts of arroz con pollo and other hardy foods piled up for purchase. There are carnival rides. And there are the beer outlets, usually with bands, music and dancing.
The food and other health aspects of the fair are inspected continually by a dozen municipal workers. Nearly every day one or more outlets are closed down because the food is not at the correct temperature or for other health violations. The carnival rides are inspected, too.
Police flood the fairground and conduct random checks mostly on the young. They find marijuana, knives and individuals named in arrest warrants.
The location is south of the Registro Nacional. Parking is at a premium, so most visitors use public transportation.
Police said that over the weekend they detained a handful of individuals who were engaged in altercations in public, perhaps as a result of the beer outlets. One man was held for domestic violence, they said. Despite the police presence, pickpockets and other thieves gravitate to Zapote. Police suggest leaving home valuables and all but the necessary amount of money.
For those who can’t get enough of the carnival food, rides and beer, the Palmares festival begins a 20-day run Jan. 14.