A crowd of more than 100,000 lined Calle Simon Bolivar on Saturday as thousands more rode and marched in Cuenca’s annual Pase del Niño parade.
At the head of the processoin, the 193-year-old statue of the Niño Viajero, so-called for his 1962 world tour when he received the Pope’s blessing in Rome, was escorted by the Tarqui Grenadiers from a local Army base. He was followed more than 300 units from all over Ecuador, mostly from rural communities. The parade began at 10 in the morning and continued until about 4 in the afternoon.
According to parade organizers, all Ecuadorians were represented, including indigenous communities from the Amazon, Andes and coast, as well as Spanish descendants. “We are inclusive in this event and are proud to make the point that we are all together but respect our origins and our heritage,” said Rafael Gomez, whose Otavalan family sponsored a float.
Gomez, like other participants said the weather was perfect. “It is wonderful today, a mix of clouds and sunshine, not the intense sun we’ve have in recent years,” he said. “The sun is very hard on the children, especially the babies.”
As in other recent parades, there were expat entries among the marchers. Hundreds of other tourists and expats watched from the sidewalk and balconies.