A parade, live music and many varieties of mezcal contributed to the festive vibe at Zihuatanejo’s fourth annual Mezcal Festival, held February 28.
It started, as most things do in Mexico, with a parade; this one proceeded from Plaza Kyoto to the downtown core. Although small, it was an enthusiastic crowd of both participants and spectators alike, with free samples of mezcal along the way — probably why this parade was slower than most.
After the parade — or before the parade had actually ended — my friends and I headed to the beach in front of the museum where all the good Zihuatanejo festivals take place. It wasn’t too crowded yet, so we were able to scoot into the lines of stands and sample as many kinds of mezcal as we could. And there were far more than I ever thought was possible.
There was coffee-flavored mezcal, fruit-flavored mezcal and mezcal with scorpions on the bottom, as well as creamy concoctions that I think I liked even better than the more traditional ones. One mezcal even had real gold flecks in it, but at 2,500 pesos a bottle I can see why no free samples were given out.
The ever-present row of food vendors lined the sidewalk directly in front of the museum and offered a wide variety of taste experiences from tacos to paella, with shrimp on a stick and fresh bolillos stuffed with roasted pork. For those not as mezcal oriented, you could wash it all down with beer, fruit juices or water.
By 7:00 p.m. the place was packed, and I was happy to watch from the sidelines as a show commenced that involved youths with masks, a tiger and lots of whips — all performed to the sound of flute and drums. Then the band started up: an energetic, youthful and extremely talented group called Auraccion, and I was coaxed, not unwillingly, to the dance floor.
Another first-class, well-run festival in Zihuatanejo has come and gone. After four successful mezcal festivals, all I can say is, I can’t wait till next year.