It’s Christmas Day in Costa Rica and that means Zapote, the annual fair of all fairs that takes place in San Jose. Starting at noon today and running to Jan. 7, the Zapote fair attracts thousands from the Central Valley and around the country.
The annual fair includes chinamos (street food), bars, concerts, games and of course, what would Zapote be without the toros (bulls). Tuesday last (Dec. 19), the Municipalidad de San José (Municipality of San Jose) announced at a press conference the investment of ¢60 million colones carried out by the Coopecasa company.
The first “Toros a la Tica” takes place at 3:00 pm today, in the newly renovated “redondel” (bullring) that can accommodate 300 people more this year, for a total of 3,000 spectators per show. There are two shows daily, 3:00 pm and 8:00 pm.
The Toros a la Tica is a bunch of mainly young men taunting a bull and then running out of its way. By an large the bulls are tame and their horns not so sharp, but the bull doesn’t always lose the taunt.
The Zapote fair opens at 11:00 am daily.
On Tuesday, December 26, horses and their riders take over Paseo Colon and Avenida Segunda in the annula “Tope” (horse parades).
The annual event following Christmas Day usually involves thousands of horses and riders. On several occasions Buffaloes have been part of the event.
Although drinking in public is not permitted, open cans of Imperial (beer) and liquor are visible throughout the route.
Behind them are the crews of sweepers, making Paseo Colon and Avenida 2 clean enough for the return of the “Carnaval” – the street parade – on Wednesday, December 27.
This is the second concecutive year for the Carnaval, after an 11-year absence in San Jose.
This year the event includes eleven comparsas (musicians and dancers) from across the country, floats and some 50 vintage cars.
The Tope and Carnaval will move in a westerly direction from Avenida 2 to Paseo Colon. In the case of the Carnaval, there is an open-air concert, on Paseo Colon, at the end of the parade.
Beyond San Jose
The annual tradition of fairs, bullfights and carnavals conitnues beyond San Jose to all small and big towns across the country.
Some of the more notable events are the Palamares and Puntarenas festivals, almost matching the size and attendance of Zapote.
Palmares is about 40 minutes from San Jose. The event is held this year from Jan.11 to Jan. 22 .
This year, the Pacific port town of Puntarenas will play host to the annual event between Feb. 8 and Feb. 18.