Mazatlán Carnival parade in 2019.

Mazatlán says no to carnival, though only 1,576 people voted

A resounding 90% voted against staging the 122-year-old event

While only 0.44% of registered voters showed up to cast a ballot at a referendum Sunday, the few Mazatlán citizens who did vote decided overwhelmingly that the city will not hold its world-famous carnival celebration in February.

Local officials stood ready to collect votes with 33,000 ballots at six polling stations. But in the end, only 1,576 people voted on whether the city should hold the festival next year in light of the coronavirus. Of that number, 1,417 — or 90% — voted no.

The number of eligible voters totaled 350,510 in the 2018 elections.

The municipality held the referendum after Mayor Guillermo Benítez Torres said municipal officials could not come to a decision about holding the event, scheduled for February 11–16, due to concerns about crowding and Covid-19 spread.

“This is to say that citizens decide and not the authorities,” Benítez said upon announcing the referendum. “If you want it to happen, we are all going to share responsibility for what may happen at Carnaval.”

Mazatlán’s 2020 carnival celebration broke records with 1.6 million people attending the seven-day festival. The parade alone had an estimated attendance of 680,000. Forbes magazine has called the carnival — a 122-year-old tradition that features concerts, parades, fireworks displays and other large public events — one of the three most important carnival celebrations worldwide.

Mazatlán currently has 72 active Covid-19 cases, in second place statewide under Culiacán, which has 247.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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