Sunday, December 3, 2023

Zihuatanejo’s Paella Fest gets creative in the face of Covid-19

For the past two years in Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, the local Rotary Club has held its successful Paella Fest fundraising event, where attendees can come together to sample the best paellas area restaurants have to offer and raise money for social causes.

While last year’s festival, held on the beach in front of the municipal museum, was a roaring success, it was apparent to Rotary members putting on the event that with the advent of Covid-19 a whole new strategy would be needed to keep everyone involved safe. With that in mind, this year’s Paella Fest is being organized a little differently.

The 2021 event that will happen on February 6 will be Covid-safe, say organizers.

Instead of large crowds in one place trying out paellas from various restaurants, says Rotarian Claudia de León, this year’s ticket purchase will allow attendees to choose just one restaurant out of 10 participating. They will visit the restaurants instead of the restaurants coming to them. And each of the establishments, scattered throughout Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo, will be allowed to host only 15 diners in total to ensure everyone’s safety.

The event still benefits the same good cause: the local hospital. Last year, funds raised went to its pediatric wing. This year, due to Covid, the Rotary Club and the doctors may direct money to other areas at the hospital as need dictates.

Last year's Paella Fest was set on Municipal Beach, but this year, Covid-19 has changed the event's format, and there will be measures in place to avoid crowds.
Last year’s Paella Fest was set on Municipal Beach, but this year, Covid-19 has changed the event’s format and there will be measures in place to avoid crowds.

Tickets cost 250 pesos (alcohol and tip not included) and are valid only on the day of the event from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., except for three restaurants that are holding lunchtime servings from 1 to 5 p.m. The participants are donating their paellas, says de León, something that is remarkable to see in these challenging times, she said.

Participating restaurants include:

  • In Ixtapa: Bistro Soleiado (participating restaurants El Cielo and Kau Kan have already sold out)
  • In Zihuatanejo: El Mediterraneo, El Vigia, Carmalitas, Hotel Bella Vista, Angustina, Sotavento Beach Club by Bandidos, Garrobos, Chez Leo, Ristorante D’Maria
  • Barra de Postosi: Bella Vista Hotel.

Last year, tickets went fast, so you might want to order yours early, especially if there is a particular restaurant you want to try. You can reserve your spot by contacting a member of the Rotary Club through the group’s Facebook page.

The writer divides her time between Canada and Zihuatanejo.

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