Cuenca’s 193 independence celebration officially wraps up tonight and organizers of the event say it has been the biggest and best yet.
City streets have been aflutter with flags, packed with townspeople, tourists and expats, since Thursday. Parks and plazas overflow with crafts, art and food vendors during the day, turning into concert venues and fireworks staging areas at night. Five parades, celebrating the city’s schools, Ecuador’s military and the Chola Cuencana tradition, among other things, have packed sidewalks in El Centro and along Av. Solano.
Everywhere, there were umbrellas, protecting people from the fierce equatorial sun.
Event organizers estimate that more than 250,000 have turned out for the festivities, including about 75,000 tourists. City hotels have been full and airlines report that flights into and out of Cuenca have been booked solid for weeks.
In addition to crafts shows, concerts and fireworks, independence festivities consisted of literally dozens of other events, including an international orchid show at Mall del Rio; the annual 2k waiters race, in which waiters from the city’s restaurants rapidly carry trays of food and drink through historic district streets; the Ecuador squash chamipionships; and the opening of Cuenca’s new planetarium.
There were even dinosaurs, complete with sound effects, in Parque de la Madre.
Of all the crafts fairs, the one sponsored by CIDAP on Paseo 3 de Noviembre and in the CIDAP courtyard, drew the largest crowds. The exhibits, vetted by a committee, included vendors from eight countries besides Ecuador.
Scroll down to see images of the weekend’s events.
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