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Review: Ibiza Town Carnival 2016

Colour, creativity and dancing

Carnival time on Ibiza brings the crowds out onto the streets to watch the creative colourful parades of floats with themes inspired by popular culture, films, children's stories and history. There are carnival celebrations across the island and Spain, most notably in Cádiz and the Canaries. Ibiza punches above its weight for the size of the population: the Rúa de Carnaval parades take place in the main towns of Ibiza Town, Santa Eulalia and San Antonio and attract people from all over the island. Everyone brings with them much enthusiasm, cheer and revelry.

Thousands of people took to the streets this Sunday in Ibiza Town, the first and biggest of the Rúa de Carnaval processions. The rain looked like it was going to prevail as the participants gathered at 10am for the 11am start. At one point there were fears that all the hard work of the various associations, groups, schools and dance schools would have to wait. A small weather-clearing miracle occurred just in time to kiss goodbye to the rain and the cavalcade got going an hour or so later; and, whist the wind remained, so do did the determination of everyone to put on a great show.

A cavalcade of characters

The procession started on Avenida Santa Eulalia by the port in town snaking its way along the adjacent streets to the promenade of Vara de Rey in search of the top prizes for participation. This year we were treated to men in drag on the Priscilla Queen of the Desert float, possibly inspired by last year's Ibiza Gay Pride. Film was well represented by Star Wars, Braveheart and Pirates of the Caribbean. A whole troupe of Michael Jacksons made up one float with another a celebration of horse racing at England's Ascot with a float decorated with horses and jockeys.

One of the most admired floats was from the Carthaginians and Romans' Association who put on the cheekily titled “the shitty sea” procession dedicated to the emissary of Talamanca seen here being pulled along in his chariot. They were accompanied by amusing and energetic dancing animals and the god Neptune. Their display won them one of the first prizes; other first prize winners were for the elaborate Snow White float and the imaginative and original Samurais for Peace.

Prizes and paella

The party atmosphere filled the streets with joy and abundance as troupes of Vikings and characters from Don Quixote, Dirty Dancing as well as a particularly nimble Jabba the Hut rolled by. A bright burst of colours came with an African tribe procession and another float with everyone dressed in gold. There was even a series of colours and shapes inspired by WhatsApp and kites, wooden horses and puppets.

As the prizes were decided the crowds sampled the big paella made especially for the show in Vara de Rey. What was sure that rain or no rain; the party atmosphere of the Rúa de Carnival would not be dampened. The enthusiasm of everyone on display and the people watching make this a must-see event and whilst you'll have to wait another year to see the next one, we have to say the wait will be worth it.

WORDS: Julian Heathcote

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