According to Cuenca tourism officials, this year’s Cuenca independence holidays broke all previous attendance records. A spokesman for the municipal tourism office said the numbers could be as much as 25 percent higher than for the 2017 event.
“The turnouts to all the events has been fantastic, much more than we anticipated,” he said. “The Cuenca holidays festival has become a signature event for all of Ecuador.”
Large crowds turned out Friday and Saturday nights for concerts by dozens of Latin American performers, highlighted by Saturday’s performance by Ricky Martin in Alejandro Serrano Stadium.
On Friday night, a crowd estimated at 25,000 to 30,000 attended the annual Huaynacapazo bash on Av. Huayna Capac, where four large sound stages saw performances by more than 40 groups. The larger-than-expected crowd prompted organizers to provide directions to concert-goers for getting from one stage to another, courtesy of drones that circled overhead.
Saturday morning saw simultaneous parades, the traditional Morlaquía parade on Calle Simon Bolivar and the military parade on Av. Huayna Capac. In the afternoon, President Lenin Moreno attended the official commemoration of Cuenca’s 198th anniversary of independence from Spain.
The 25 official crafts and food fairs, as well as the informal fairs, all attracted record crowds. The largest fair, sponsored by CIDAP, was set up in the museum courtyard at the base of the Hermano Miguel escalinata and on both sides of the Tomebamba River. Other crafts and food fairs were at Otorongo Plaza; Calle Santa Ana; San Luis Seminary courtyard (next to the cathedral); Casa Chaguarchimbana on Calle de las Herrerias; the Rotary Market and Civic Plaza on Calle Sangirima; Parque de Miraflores; Plaza de la Merced; Casa de las Posadas; and many more.