Unable to come to a decision whether to hold Mazatlán’s annual carnival celebration in February 2021, the city’s municipal government has chosen to let the public decide.
Mayor Luis Guillermo Benítez Torres announced that after struggling to come to a decision about holding the world-famous event despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the municipality will hold a referendum on December 6 and ask the city’s 30,000 voters to decide whether to hold the event, scheduled to take place February 11–16.
“This is to say that citizens decide and not the authorities,” Benítez said. “If you want it to happen, we are all going to share responsibility for what may happen at Carnaval.”
Other carnival events worldwide have been postponed for 2021, including those in Veracruz and Rio de Janiero, Brazil.
In late October, Mayor Benítez told local media that because the number of Covid-19 cases was on a downward trend in Mazatlán, the city was still considering holding the event. However, he predicted that the annual parade would not be part of the festivities.
But it was apparently the parade that was a sticking point about whether to hold the entire event at all. At a press conference, Benítez said that because officials could not come to a decision about the parade, they decided to put the question to a referendum.
Forbes magazine has called the Mazatlán carnival — which features concerts, parades, fireworks displays and other large public events — one of the three most important carnival events worldwide. According to a February report by the ministry of economic development, tourism, and fishing, the 2020 event broke attendance records with 1.6 million people in total attending the seven-day festival, while hotel occupancy was at 100%. The parade alone had an estimated attendance of 680,000.
On December 6 the local government will set up voting stations in various parts of the city. The ballots will simply ask, “Despite the pandemic, are you in agreement with holding the 2021 Mazatlán Carnival?”
According to the latest information available from Sinaloa health officials, Mazatlán currently has 54 active cases of Covid-19, with 13 new cases as of Sunday. The municipality has seen an accumulated total of 607 deaths attributed to the disease.