Merida Summer Nights
The Olimpo is still closed for maintenance and most folks are away on vacation, but that doesn’t mean that there is nothing going on in Merida. Throughout the rest of the year, we are deluged with cultural events, often so many that we never get a chance to enjoy regional serenades and folkloric ballets. If you are in the city this week, take this opportunity to catch up on these regular productions and see just how wonderful they really are. We forget that many of our Yucatecan musicians and dancers are well known international performers, and we often take them for granted because they are fixtures in our lives. Now is the time to appreciate Yucatan’s own treasures and see just what it is that the rest of the world thinks is so spectacular about this mysterious land which we are fortunate enough to call home.
The Fair at Progreso
On a lighter note – when and where would be the best place in all the world to hold a summer fair? We all know the answer to that question! The beaches of Yucatan during La Temporada! Yes – indeed! The fair between Progreso and Chicxulub has been open since August 4th and will continue until the 19th. Be careful of the heat – but don’t miss an opportunity to enjoy this local fair that is growing bigger and better every year!
Location: Km 2 between Progreso and Chicxulub
Time: 10:00 AM until midnight – through August 19
Monday (Lunes) August 14, 2007
Conversaciones con Amigos (Conversations with Friends)
Come one, come all! You do not have to be a member to attend. Come to practice Spanish or English. There are always a few English and Spanish native speakers, helping each other with pronunciation, vocabulary and learning each other’s customs.
Location: Merida English Library, Calle 53 #524 x 66 y 68.
Time: 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Admission: small donation
VAQUERÍA Folkloric Ballet
Since the 18th century, when cattle ranching was at its peak and the main source of wealth in Yucatan, at roundup time, the cattle rancher would invite all of his friends and neighbors to a fiesta, so he could show off his wealth. At these events, the wives of the vaqueros (the men who worked the cattle) would dance. Thus, the name Vaquería. Merida continues to support the Vaquería, a spectacular ballet, featuring the Jaranera Orchestra and the City Folkloric Ballet & Trova Yucateca.
Location: First floor of the Ayuntamiento in the Plaza Grande (the building with the clock)
Time: All Mondays 9:00 PM
Tuesday (Martes) August 15, 2007
Remembrance Musicals This is a weekly dance, held since every Tuesday night since Valentine’s Day, 1984. There is plenty of space in the park for dancing and food vendors. The original band was the Band of Memory and the first song played here was "Musical Workers.” Today, we listen to the Big Band sounds of the forties, provided by the wonderful Jaranara Orchestra. Best of all, this is a great place to practice your chachachá and your mambo.
Location: Parque de Santiago, Calle 72 at Calle 59
Time: Every Tuesday at 8:30 PM
Wednesday (Miercoles) August 16, 2007
Miercoles de Teatro (Wednesday Theatre)
This is regional theater that moves around the municipality, bringing cultural opportunities to all of Merida’s citizens. After a short hiatus, we are very happy to see this special event come back to the smaller parks and colonias in the municipality. Watch for it in a park near you.
This Week: Comisaría San José Tzal on the basketball field
Time: 7:00 PM
Thursday (Jueves) August 17, 2007
“To Remember is to Live”
Live music under the trees in one of Merida’s oldest parks. What we really love about this dance, next to the fact that it starts early and ends at a reasonable hour, is that members of the Jaranara Orchestra play for this one too! These musicians have a range that is unbelievable! Come on down and enjoy the Big Band sound, something you’re not likely to hear anywhere else but in Merida these days. And unwind beneath the big trees.
Location: Parque Zoológico del Centenario (The Zoo), Calle 59 at Avenida Itzaes
When: 4:00 PM
Yucatan Sings and Dances
Tonight’s presentation by Trio Trova Nova and Folkloric Ballet of the Mexican Institute of Art.
For our visitors, this performance is just a taste of the wonderful shows we have throughout the year. If you are in town in the middle of the week, don’t miss this chance to see the music of Yucatan at its best.
Location: Theater Carlos Acereto. Calle 55 # 490 B by Calle 38
Time: 8:30 PM
This is a real serenade that has been a fixture in Merida, every Thursday night, for over 40 years. If you haven’t seen it, you have really missed something wonderful. This is the center of Merida’s romantic heart. If you are a visitor, make sure to get to this particular serenade. It is well worth being part of your first memory of Merida.
Location: Parque Santa Lucía, Calle 60 and 55, Downtown.
Time: 9:00 PM
Admission is Free.
Friday (Viernes) August 18, 2007
Baila Merida (Merida Dances)
This dance is designed for us older folks, but should give younger visitors quite a show. At the very least, we can teach the young folks to dance and, at best, visitors can regale the folks back home with tales of dancing in the park with old people to the music of a world renowned orchestra. Now where else can you get that combination of experiences for free?
Location: Parque Santa Ana, Calle 60 x 47 y 45, Centro
Time: 8:00 PM
Noches Románticas en La Ermita (Romantic Nights in the Hermitage)
Are there any other kind? And remember – this is free musical expression with a romantic theme. This particular park, with it’s central gazebo, it’s cobbled streets, the colonial facades surrounding the park and the lovely little church at one side is romantic, even without the music!
Location: Parque de la Ermita de Santa Isabel (Calle 66 and 77)
Time: 9:00 PM
Saturday (Sabado) August 19, 2007
This is the first season for these artists’ solo performances and they are just spectacular. All in all, there will be 14 guitarists who will spend this season sharing the sentimental music of our state with those who live here and visitors alike. Don’t miss a chance to see any of these performances. The last show will be September 8.
Location: Cineteca National in Teatro Mérida (Calle 62 between 59 and 61)
Time: 8:00 PM
Activities for Children
Saturday looks like fun for the kids at the Municipal Palace. They can learn about the Solar System at 11:00 AM and, if they are over the age of 6, they can take a sculpture class at noon… but the best fun looks like a show that includes games, a trio, and a break dancing exhibition at 5:00 PM in Comisaria Sierra Papacal.
Noche Mexicana (Mexican Night)
Each Saturday night, there is a performance on an outdoor stage here, often from a musical or dance group from another part of Mexico. Chairs are set up for the audience, but it’s often standing room only. Booths selling food and handcrafts are set up in the park. The purpose of this performance is to bring all of Mexico to our own backyard here in Merida.
Location: Beginning of Paseo Montejo, Calle 56 A between 47 and 49
Time: 8:00 PM (Cancelled by rain)
En El Corazón de Mérida (In the Heart of Merida)
Live music, including jazz, salsa and even the trova, held on various stages around the Plaza Grande. Many of the streets leading to the Plaza are closed to all but foot traffic, and the restaurants and bars put their chairs and tables outside in the streets. This is a night designed for that Saturday night date, but they’ve got all of the shops open for business too.
Location: Plaza Grande, Centro
Time: Saturday nights, from 9:00 PM to 2:00 AM
Sunday (Domingo) August 20, 2007
Documentary: Athletic Animals
Every Sunday, at noon, the Museum of Natural History presents a documentary, mostly centered around themes associated with animals and the environment. This Sunday, we learn about the most athletic animals on Earth, all of whom are far more physically athletic than human beings could ever be. Get to know all about the most athletic animals in the world.
Location: Museum of Natural History, Calle 59 near Avenida Itzaes
Time: 12:00 Noon
Sunday mornings for Dogs
Speaking of Athletic Animals, if you are a dog owner (or owned by a dog…), come join the rest of us for an hour of running and playing in a safe place. An informal group has started meeting on Sunday mornings from 7:30-8:30 AM in the grass-covered parking lot behind the Hyatt Hotel. Get there by going north on Calle 60 and turning right on Calle 35, just after the Siqueff restaurant. The parking lot entrance will be on your left. Bring water for you AND your dog. If there aren’t a lot of dogs, it isn’t as much fun… so come and bring your pups for a little bit of old-fashioned running around.
The Bici-Ruta is part of a national plan to get people out for physical exercise, as well as for community building activities and it’s alive and well, even in the middle of summertime. It begins early, at 8:00 AM, and ends at noon. There is a set route that begins in Ermita and San Juan Parks, passes through Centro and then travels down Paseo Montejo, to include Fiesta Americana, and Paseo de Montejo at the corners of Calles 45, 43, 31, and 29. If you want to play chess, go to the sidewalk outside the Museum of Anthropology on Paseo Montejo at 9 am and pick up a game!
Location: Begins at Parque de la Ermita, through the Plaza Grande, out Paseo Montejo, and Ends at the Glorieta on Prolongation Paseo Montejo (by Burger King).
Time: 8:00 A.M. to 12:00 PM
Mérida en Domingo
Sunday downtown is a spectacular tradition in Mérida. Start at the center of town, where booths are set up all around the Plaza Grande. Inside the plaza, you can find huipiles, guayaberas, honey, dolls, bags, tee-shirts… and everything is made for sale by the local people of the Yucatan. The outer ring of booths are selling food: marquesitas, tacos, cochinita, ice cream (try the coconut), fruit, drinks, etc. There’s also usually a musical concert in the garden at the MACAY Museum, just off the Paseo de la Revolución next to the main cathedral. If the crowd starts to get to you, go to the museum (entrance is free). Sit around the fountain or walk through the galleries and listen to the live music. Or wander up Calle 60 to Santa Lucia Park, where you can also find antiques, old books and other curiosities. At that lovely park, there is also food, live music and lots of dancing. The dancing and music is guaranteed to put a smile on your face!
Location: In the Centro Historico: Plaza Grande, Parque Santa Lucia (Calle 60 x 55) and MACAY Museum (Calle 60 between 61 and 63)
Time: 9:00 AM until 9:00 PM
Sunday at the MACAY
There is a musical concert in the garden at the MACAY Museum, just off the Paseo de la Revolución next to the main cathedral. If the Merida en Domingo crowd starts to get to you, go to the museum (entrance is free). Sit around the fountain or walk through the galleries and listen to the live music.
Location: In the Garden at the MACAY (next to the Cathedral)
Time: 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
Coming up Next Week!
TGI Fridays’ Bartender Competition
This event is to take place on Wednesday, August 22, at approximately 5:00 PM – but we wanted you to have as much advance information as possible so you can mark your calendars and reserve your seats to watch the first open-to-the-public TGI Fridays’ Bartender’s Competition. From what we hear, cameras will be welcome as ten Merida TGI Fridays bartenders compete to see who will go on to the next round of the company’s bartenders’ competition in another city. This event begins the 2008 competition for the TGI Fridays’ World Bartender Championship, which will be held in the Spring.
These bartenders have been taught to “freestyle” juggle glasses and pour drinks perfectly with a seemingly effortless flair and are constantly tested by their coworkers. You are also likely to see crowd-pleasing bottle spinning and flipping, and choreographed “bar-obic” routines for which Friday’s bartenders are world renowned. These bartenders have also been tested on drink recipes, food preparation, garnishes of all kinds, and on their appearance. We are not certain how much of this will come into play on the night they battle for top honors in Merida, but we will have a reporter on the scene (reservation already in hand) and we are certain to have pictures, in addition to her commentary.
This is a time of the year when a mostly absent, vacationing population has left plenty of parking available at all the best restaurants in town, so make your reservations for this battle of the bartenders and be ready to leave us plenty of comments when its over!
Location: TGI Friday’s on Paseo Montejo just south of SAMS Club
Time: Aug. 22, 2007 at 5:00 PM
Admission: Free. Reservations are advised.