Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Santa Cruz expects 800,000 people during the four days of Carnival in the street

Daytime Carnival in the Plaze de la Candelaria in 2020

"All the conditions are in place for a magical weekend," says the Councillor for Fiestas, Alfonso Cabello, before the arrival of the most popular events after the pandemic

Santa Cruz Carnival has already passed its meridian and is heading into the final stretch of its most atypical celebration. From Monday, the centre of the capital was a hive of activity. The assembly of stages such as the one in the Plaza del Príncipe, the installation of the first kiosks, the chemical toilets already in place, the electrical connections, in short, everything necessary for the Carnival to start on the street this Thursday.

Four days of practically uninterrupted festivities, in which, according to the organization's forecasts, the figure of 800,000 people could be reached, "being optimistic", adding the four days; while, with a more moderate forecast, "we could reach 640,000."

These figures, as the Councillor for Fiestas, Alfonso Cabello, explains to DIARIO DE AVISOS, “come from the forecasts we have, for example, with public transport, which brings some 80,000 people a day to the city; Fred Olsen and Armas, which are about 25,000 passengers, to which if we add the 12,000 people that we estimate pass through the fair, we would be around the numbers with which the organization works. Only for the Daytime Carnival on Saturday, which will start at 12 noon and will tie with the night, until 6 in the morning, the figure of 325,000 people is considered in all that time.

With such spectacular prospects, it is not surprising that Alfonso Cabello acknowledges that he faces these four days with mixed feelings. “Many people tell me to get ready for something big, but objectively I don't know what is going to happen, if it will be a Cavalcade Thursday, or if the Cavalcade Friday will be like a Saturday night. The numbers we have are forecasts based on transport data, hotel occupancy ... but this Thursday of the Burial of the Sardine we don't know what it will look like, nor how many people there will be”.

What seems clear is that “I do think there are going to be many people, because the indicators anticipate it, with hotel occupancy at 100% and vacation homes also at 100%, the increase in frequencies, both from Binter and from Armas and Fred Olsen, in addition to public transport, so, a priori, all the conditions are in place for it to be a magical weekend, marked by Carnival, and to become the de facto capital of Carnival”. In addition, the councillor adds an important fact and that is that “there is nothing else with which to compete or compare ourselves. So, in principle, a frenetic Carnival starts on Thursday at nine at night and ends on Sunday at midnight.

When asked if the expectations of the June Carnival are being met, Cabello answers “yes”, since “it is developing quite successfully”. However, he clarifies that “it is true that the traditional order of the competitions and galas is adapted to the needs of the Carnival, I am referring to starting with a Gala in which the times have not allowed some of the groups to collaborate, because they are preparing their contests. We will resume the order next year, but we cannot forget that this Carnival was designed and conceived in a pandemic context, and that is what this order obeys.

The councillor of Fiestas points out that "we have crossed the equator of the Carnival with the great part of contests and galas, and, starting this Thursday, two years later we return to the streets with the atypical Burial of the Sardine according to San Juan".


And it is that, although the Sardine is pardoned, there will be fire this Thursday night, and not only because of the bonfires of San Juan. “The sardine is not going to burn, but COVID is. After two years of social distancing, returning to Carnival, which in essence is social rapprochement, twinning, joy, as well as culture, heritage and economic impact, is great news to be able to do it again. It is a beautiful night, in which fire is called to devour the COVID and that the sardine is pardoned until next year at the Casa del Carnaval”.

The councillor explains that the route is the same as in previous years, so the Sardine according to Saint John “will leave the environment of John Paul II. At the end we are going to have two big concerts with Canarian orchestras until three in the morning, in the Plaza del Príncipe and in the Plaza de Candelaria, apart from the opening of the different kiosk areas”.

While Cabello speaks with DIARIO DE AVISOS, the background noise of the different montages sneaks into the conversation. “We are finishing the assemblies, the certifications of the electrical installations, security plans, meetings with Public Services, with urban furniture, with the Environment, in short, different organizational meetings of the last week. The city is a hive of activity prior to the start-up”, details the councillor.

Plus, he admits it's one of his favourite parts, seeing the frenzy the city falls into the week before the block party.


Regarding the security of this Carnival, Cabello is forceful. "This year we have a reduced Carnival, but only in number of days, because the one thing that has not been reduced is the aspects that have to do with security, which are the same as for the February Carnival," he said.

A security and organization that the councillor estimates can be evaluated more clearly with the organization of the Cabalgata (Opening Parade) this Friday, before which he, he admits, he feels "excitement and nerves."

“Organizationally, the biggest challenge is that of the Cavalcade, because we have several thousand people who go out on a great route of almost three kilometres, crossing the city with hundreds of thousands of people and trying to get to the end, and all to do it in a reasonable time, without mixing large audiences, it is complicated.