I was writing about Mexico a lot while I was living there for a year, so I gave it a break for a bit. But I’ve been holding on to these photos ever since attending the Feria de Leon in the state of Guanajuato’s largest city – Leon.
This is supposedly the second-biggest state fair in Mexico and it seemed like half the population of the state was there when we attended on its final weekend. Should you want to go, it’s January 13 to February 6 in 2012 and roughly that same time each year. It’s right off the main big thoroughfare going through the city (and to the bus station), so it’s easy to get there on public transportation.
When you get inside, it’s a madhouse. There are things you would expect at a fair, like animals winning blue ribbons, junk food, and carnival rides. But everything seems to have a bit of a Mexican twist to it. Some of it was easy to figure out—like getting your photo taken sitting on top of a giant cebu. Other parts, not so much—like the freaky-looking guy with glitter on his eyelids who was in charge of the petting zoo.
We had a few goals in mind before we entered the gates. One was to check out a Lucha Libre wrestling match. It didn’t start out as very promising when “Smooth Operator” by Sade played twice on the sound system before the match. Not exactly music to get the aggression going. Plus the fakeness of this fake wrestling was a little too apparent with the first match. The amateurs aren’t even good at faking a fight, apparently.
They got better though, and so did the music. By the end it was acrobatic guys that almost made it look like they were hitting each other. Watching the crowd was just as fun, as was the parade of snacks for sale: apples covered with chili sauce, cotton candy in four colors, potato chips covered with hot sauce and limes.
We also planned to eat our way around the grounds and were successful on that count. At the prices above ($1 = 12 pesos) it wasn’t hard. They take their food stalls seriously in Mexico and there were probably 100 of them around, all busy. We got huaraches, tacos, shrimp on a stick, giant burritos, and other goodies. But this sign below was the best.
If you get a chance to check out a voladores show in Mexico, it’s a real treat. Elaborately dressed men climb to the top of a very high pole, rope themselves onto it, and fly through the air. They slowly get closer and closer to the ground while whirling around the pole. All the while another man is on a small platform at the top, playing a flute and hopping around. It gives me the willies just thinking about sitting up there, much less in his position.
Here’s a close-up of the guy who was moving around on the top, playing that flute. He’s been doing this a while it looks like, so I guess he’s used to it.
My daughter and I did the rounds of the games to win some prizes. In one booth you could win a giant stuffed cigarette. In another, loaves of Bimbo bread. She got a little toy from shooting a cap gun but our big score was when we played the loteria game. We put down our bets on which pictures would come up (the drunk, the scorpion, and the devil were my faves) and scored boxes of cookies.
She also dug the rides, especially the one where a guy blew up big plastic bubbles with a leaf blower and the kids bumped around inside them on top of a pool of water. Big fun!