February 28th marked the 4th annual Mezcal Festival in Zihuatanejo. It started all, as most things do in Mexico, with a parade that ran from Plaza Kyoto to the downtown core. Although small, it was an enthusiastic crowd of both participants and spectators alike- and free samples of Mezcal along the way. Which is probably why the parade was slower than most. But there were horses, real and not so real, and perhaps after a few samples, imagined too.
After the parade- well okay before the parade was over, my friends and I headed to the beach in front of the museum where all the good festivals of Zihuatanejo take place. It wasn’t too crowded yet, so we were able to scoot into the lines of mezcal 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 flavoured, fruit flavored, mezcals with real scorpions on the bottom (that kind of creeped me out,) as well as creamy concoctions that I think I liked better than even the more traditional ones. There was no Ben one with real gold flecks in it that sold for 2500 pesos a bottle. I wasn’t surprised when they said there would not be free samples of it.
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 paella, to tacos, shrimp on a stick and fresh boleos stuffed with roasted pork. For those not as mezcal oriented, you could wash it all down with beer or fruit juices and water.
By 7:00 the place was packed, and I was happy to take a seat and watch a show that involved youths with masks, a tiger and lots of whips all acted out to the sound of flute and drums. Exciting stuff. Then the band started up- an energetic, youthful and extremely talented group called Auraccion, and I was dragged (ok I went willingly) to the dance floor.
Once again, another first class, well run festival in Zihuatanejo has come and gone. All I can say is after four successful Mezcal festivals, I can’t wait until next year.