Tenerife Carnival Diary #1, the Election of the Carnival Queen

Posted: March 5, 2011 in Life, Spain, Tenerife, Travel
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I was at a tapas party in El Médano on the night the Santa Cruz Carnaval (I’m swapping to the Spanish version here as that’s what’s on the posters) Queen was elected. But my adopted Tenerife hometown, Puerto de la Cruz, held their carnaval beauty queen contest the following night so I didn’t completely miss out on seeing a parade of beautiful girls in costumes that barely cover their white bits yet are the size of a small house at the same time (check out the pics and you’ll see what I mean).

To be honest, I didn’t fancy driving into town on a cool evening (15C…I know, I’m a wuss), but it’s important to keep my stock of carnaval photos up to date (place an ironic HA here).

A night-long gala is built around the election, so even though all anybody is really there to see are the potential queens in their works of wonder costumes, we have to sit through traditional music, murga groups and comedians before the queen is chosen. This year the line up included Bitter & Twisted which was a break from tradition (you don’t usually get a British act at these events). Unfortunately their act coincided with a brief and not very heavy downpour and as they went through their ‘Beauty Queen’ routine there was a bit of a mass exodus from the open air venue of Plaza Europa.

Watching people leg it for dry ground was interesting in itself and prompted me to wonder ‘when did people become so uncool’? The rain wasn’t heavy enough for me to put the hood of my hoodie up, yet a lot of people, who hadn’t checked the weather forecast and brought a brolly, adopted a ridiculous way to shield their heads; they placed plastic carrier bags on their bonces. I know it’s carnaval and all that, but scurrying through the streets with an Al Campo (local supermarket) bag on your head just looks silly…and totally unattractive.

Anyway, on to the girls. As a result of the crisis there were only five potential queens this year, prompting some disgruntled comments from the group of hobbit-sized Spanish women next to me.

The five, however, looked splendid and their costumes were spectacular works of fantasy as always. Esther Yanes García was probably the right choice of Carnaval Queen, but my favourite costume was a vibrant African themed affair (see below).

The main reason I was there was for the bit at the end of the show when the press and all and sundry can get up close to the girls to take some decent photos.

However, I’d only just started snapping away when the girls were whisked off as though their elaborate costumes came complete with jet engines. All I was left with, apart from some faraway grainy images, were a few shots of the third placed dame.

I’ll give Puerto council the benefit of the doubt here and assume it was as a precaution to save the girls’ costumes from the rain rather than an attempt at curtailing publicity (don’t laugh, it does happen here).

But whatever the reason, it wasn’t the best of starts to my carnaval experience this year.

  1. Sarah Lee says:

    Nice coverage Jack. Love your site’s new look too!

    • dragojac says:

      Thanks Sarah. The objective is to go to 4 different town carnivals and 10 carnival events by a week today…wait a minute there aren’t enough days – EEK!

  2. islandmomma Life on a Small Island and Beyond says:

    If you want to see ridiculous head coverings you should try Blackpool Promenade on a wet bank holiday weekend, when the temperature is probably less than 16º and despite the ingenious headgear they still wear their shorts and sandals….well it is summer,afterall!

    Enjoy the carnavals will be looking forward to reading about them all.

  3. Richard says:

    They have this at the wrong time of year. It’s all the Pope’s fault / God’s revenge etc My idea of carnival fun is dancing to reggae or calypso in the blazing sunshine with a spliff in one hand and a tinny in the other and it’s a bit of a shame that St Cruz / Puerto is raining and 10c colder than Notting hill 😦 Still, you can maybe get dressed up in ski gear ?

    • dragojac says:

      Much better last night in both S/C and Puerto. Clear skies, a beautiful night and loads of hardy people wearing not a lot. Didn’t spot any cyclists tho amongst the throng of flamenco dancers, nurses, witches and superheroes.

  4. […] Tenerife Carnival Diary #1, the Election of the Carnival Queen […]

  5. […] first attempt to photograph the carnaval queens in Puerto de la Cruz hadn’t exactly been successful. Luckily there was one more chance to meet […]

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