17 Oct The Fair in San Miguel de Allende
As an American, the state fair is sort of iconic. You eat cotton candy, ride the Ferris wheel, spend money to win things you’d wouldn’t ever buy, and perhaps come home with a new pet goldfish. The Fair in San Miguel de Allende is similar, yet so different. The best part about it is that it’s not a tourist destination; it’s for locals.
I went for the first time several years back. I lived on the north rim of the city, just at the point where civilization becomes sparse and dusty fields of mesquite trees stretch out before you. Across one of those open swaths of lands sat the Feria, blasting music I could hear inside my house every night for a couple of weeks. I had to check it out. My curiosity was killing me.
Then a friend invited me to go with her family. Maldita Vecindad, a Mexican ska icon from the late eighties, was playing a concert there. The place was packed, from livestock to petting zoo, lots of rides and a packed mosh pit. I remember how the lights looked against the dark sky, and perhaps that’s why I was surprised when I went this year and arrived before the sun went down.
The rides weren’t open yet; the only vendors were selling Tupperware and a massive storm was brewing in the sky. There were lines of unoccupied stalls and dilapidated rides with no lights or guards. It was eerie. I climbed on various rides, playing and inspecting. I climbed around on the kids rides too, taking special time to greet El Chavo del Ocho, a Mexican television sitcom character who made an appearance on one of them.
No one seemed to notice.
Then I took to investigating their large rollercoaster which already had a standing line. It was quite large and as I drew closer I was shocked to see that it was resting on various stacks of uneven pieces of wood. The storm loomed in closer. Little raindrops began to fall. Suddenly a bolt of lightning dropped right next to us, the crack of thunder nearly instant. The Ferris wheel didn’t stop and nobody pulled their toddlers off the kiddie rides.
I decided the Feria is better to visit in the dark. So there’s my advice to you.
Have you been to the fair in Mexico or in another country? Share your experiences or questions in the comments below!