Let’s get one thing straight, the closing parade in Santa Cruz, Tenerife isn’t actually the end of carnival. It’s a technicality, a religious thing to do with giving things up for Lent on Shrove Tuesday. Carnival itself doesn’t actually stop, it carries on through to the following weekend.
Technicalities aside, the closing parade in Santa Cruz is a visually extravagant affair consisting of the murgas, comparsas, carnival queens and dames, floats and people in fancy dress who welcomed in carnival a few days earlier at the opening parade.
But it’s a very different scene with a different atmosphere. The closing parade is the big Santa Cruz carnival event for visitors. Where it was predominantly locals at the opening parade, the majority of the people lining the route from the bus station to the spot where I thought I might get a few decent shots looked like holidaymakers and ex-pats who’d made the trip from the south of Tenerife to enjoy the fun in the sun (yes, the sun did shine throughout this year). Whereas there were no barriers at the opening parade, a line of seats to make the 3 or so hours of the closing parade more comfortable for onlookers created a barrier of sorts that made the whole shebang a more orderly and less manic affair. It’s something that suits many people but for me makes it a bit less spontaneous.
There’s no doubt the seating makes carnival parade watching less of test of stamina but according to elements of the Spanish press it didn’t go down well with some of the locals who like their carnival watching options to be a bit more relaxed.
I have mixed views. The seating does affect the dynamics of the parade but if you want to attract tourists to this particular carnival event there has to be a compromise and the chairs are it. I’m sure the packed bars and restaurants along the route at Avenida Anaga have no objection to the influx of visitors. It’s good for the economics of the city.
The parade was as visually vibrant as always even if some of the participants seemed to struggle to exhibit any enthusiasm – attributed to the fact that the night before was one of the ‘big’ street party nights of the Santa Cruz carnival and some of the murgas and dancers were plain exhausted.
Whilst there were lots of wondrous sights to behold there was one particular fellow that I was determined to get a shot of – Cap’n Jack Sparrow. I’d spotted him at the opening parade but he proved elusive then, swaying in typical Sparrow fashion from one side of the road to the other. This time I managed to just about nail him. The resemblance to Johnny Depp is uncanny – he is Johnny Depp, except that he can’t be.
Or would Johnny Depp think it a jolly jape to quietly turn up at Tenerife carnival dressed as his most popular screen character? Check out the photo and decide for yourself.