Pase del Niño and Christmas dinners, Join Cuenca’s crazy Day of the Innocents Parade, Electric violinist Geoffrey Castle in concert

Dec 24, 2018

If you plan your time around what’s happening in Cuenca’s creative community, then this column is for you. Published every Monday, “What’s Happening Under the Domes” highlights the exhibits, concerts, workshops and other not-to-be-missed artistic events scheduled for the coming week. We cannot guarantee a complete listing, but we’ll try our best to keep you informed.

This week:

¡Feliz navidad! May the holiday season end the present year on a cheerful note and make way for a fresh and bright New Year.

Monday, December 24

The biggest parade of the year, Cuenca’s Christmas Eve Pase del Niño!
The parade begins at 9:30 a.m., proceeding west to east on Simon Bolivar in el Centro, ending a few blocks east of Parque Calderon. It will last until mid-afternoon.

Cuenca’s Christmas Eve parade is mostly for the kids.

The parade, a 500-year-old tradition, is a Christmas celebration in which likenesses of the infant Jesus are carried through towns and villages. Organizers of the Cuenca parade have claimed that theirs is the largest Pase del Niño in all of Latin America; as many as 15,000 will participate in the procession, with about 100,000 more watching from sidewalks, balconies and roof tops. Every neighborhood and nearby town will participate and carry its own statue of the Christ child.

Tuesday, December 25

Much will be closed for Christmas, but here are a few places to dine and celebrate:

will be open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. They will be offering a traditional Christmas dinner: 3 choices, entrance, main dish, dessert and glass of wine. Choose from 1) turkey breast in cranberry sauce served with Christmas rice, Waldorf salad. 2) filet mignon in red wine sauce, served with glazed potatoes and sautéed veggies 3) seafood combo served with spaghetti, tomato sauce.

Open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Located on Calle Larga 1-209, 1 block west of Pumapungo Museum.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Feasts at The Castle

with candlelight, elegant music and a food fit for a King.

Their menu will include: Old-Fashioned Roasted Glazed Ham, Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Sweet Potato Soup with Oven Browned Onions, Velvety-Cream Mashed Potatoes, Honey Roasted Asparagus, Orange-Ginger-Chile Glazed Carrots, Savory Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Orange Zest. Pear and Greens Blue Cheese Salad. Homemade Dinner Rolls, Apple Crisp and Vanilla Ice Cream.

Christmas dinner with all the fixins.

Two sittings: December 24 at 6 p.m. and December 25 at 2 p.m.. Each sitting is $19.95 per person plus IVA.

Call 0989-358-169 to reserve your spot at the King’s tables, or email at

The Castle is located on the Tomebamba River, with two entrances on 3 de Noviembre (200 feet downriver from the Broken Bridge) and on Bajada de Todos los Santos, (500 feet downhill from Todos Santos Church).

Free Christmas Dinner – Sonrisas de Esperanza

Going to be alone this Christmas Day? From Noon to 6 p.m., MINKA is having a special Turkey Dinner with a focus on those who will not be able to afford a Christmas Dinner this year. We are inviting people within the community, such as the shoeshine boys, those living on the streets, those in poverty and those facing other challenges to this free dinner with the expats.

We are also inviting those within the expat community to join us to eat with them and show them some Christmas Spirit. In order to pay for this, we are asking those who can afford to pay, to make a contribution to the dinner.

There are many people living in the downtown core who will be alone this Christmas, some of them with no family, no work. If you wish to sit with them, we will provide translators.

MINKA is located at Gran Colombia 9-69 and Padre Aguirre.

Wednesday, December 26
Innocences Parade calling for expats!

Fishbon del Sur theater company is the first group of foreigners, along with Gringos with Kazoos, invited to participate in Cuenca’s Annual Innocences Parade on January 6!  And they need volunteers! All ages welcome.

Corrupt politicians march in last year’s Day of Innocents parade.

Cindy Benson is the parade mistress and has created a sound track with snippets of pop culture songs to include simple choreographed moves for those that want to dance. There are also have roles to fill to act out some of the songs with pantomimes! It’s mostly improv and playing off each other, but also a great chance to learn mime from Cindy, a New York Broadway singer, actress and dancer!

Of course, the more people moving together, the better. If you come to all the parade rehearsals it’ll kick off your new year feeling good, dancing and laughing with new friends.

Do you want a part? Do you want to dance, walk or ride?

Also needed is help in creating decorations, costumes, props, the float, sign making and more. Please see the schedule below and see when you can come and help.

Workshop schedule:

All days will be open workshops from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Fishbon del Sur.

Wednesday, December 26 – Costumes making/float construction.
Thursday, December 27- Costumes making/float construction.
Friday, December 28 – Costumes making/float construction.
Saturday, December 29 – Decorate bikes, walkers and canes.
Sunday, Dec 30 – Finish up all decorating.
Wednesday, January 2 – Float construction. Dance/mime/lip sync parade routine practice.
Thursday, January 3 – Float construction. Dance/mime/lip sync parade routine practice.
Friday, January 4 – Dance/mime/lip sync parade routine practice,
Saturday, January 5 – Decorate two trucks and last rehearsal for parade routine with everyone.
Sunday is Parade Day, January 6,

For more information and to volunteer, email:

Fishbon del Sur is located at 14-25 Mariscal Lamar y Estevez de Toral.

Thursday, December 27
Stunning Photography Exhibition Continues through the new year

“ECUADOR Y MÁS: Su Tierra y Su Gente”,by Michael Hamilton, Burt Johnson and Evelyn Johnson continues through January 7.  Each photographer has a unique and different style – all beautiful and exciting!  Come and see for yourself.

Located at the Miguel Illesdas C. Galleria de Arte on Calle Larga 1-209 y Miguel Angel Estrella.  Monday to Friday: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Saturday: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Smoking Mirror: What if the Aztecs had conquered Europe?

The Aztec conquistadors scare the bejesus out of the poor Europeans.

Instead of European conquistadors colonizing the Americas, what if explorers from the Americas sailed east, subduing and subjugating the natives of Europe? What if the “New World” had conquered the “Old World”? How would history have been written by the victors? This is the theme of “Smoking Mirror,” a museum-style exhibit by Quito artist Eduardo Villacis at the Museo de los Metales. For more information, go to

The “Smoking Mirror” exhibition is open at the Museo de los Metales, 11-83 Av. Solano and continues until April.

Friday, December 28
En Vivo Jhofre Mora, Patricio Mora y Paulo Freire

8 to 11 p.m.

Acoustic concert of guitar, piano and violin, performed by outstanding Cuenca musicians, who will delight with our national music and the rock classics.

Located at La Barraca on Presidente Antonio Borrero 9-68 y Gran Colombia.

Coming soon!

Electric violinist Geoffrey Castle is playing three concerts in Cuenca, Ecuador in early January!

“Geoffrey is the coolest and best electric violinist I have ever heard.  His repertoire spans Celtic jigs to Jimmy Hendrix.  Having played with Roger Daltrey of The Who, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame drummer Alan White [from progressive band Yes] . . .  Geoffrey’s credentials are world class.” ~ Rick Hubbert

Geoffrey Castle

Saturday, January 5, 7:30 p.m. at Azuay Community Theater , next to the Oro Verde Hotel on Av Ordoñez Lasso

Wednesday, January 9, 7:30 p.m. at Liron Liron, on Gran Colombia 9-41 y Benigno Malo with Gatos Negros

Friday, January 11, 7:30 p.m. at Villa San Carlos, on Remigio Tamariz 1-85 y Av. Solano with Gatos Negros

Tickets are $20 and are available for purchase at Sunrise Cafe on Calle Largo, Thursdays, December 27 and January 3, from 9 to 11 a.m.orat idiomART on Presidente Córdova 1-77 y Manuel Vega, January 2 through 4, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

‘Retro American Music’ New Year’s Eve Dinner Show

Join “King Santra” Robert Sanders and pianist David Zoernig for a step back in time for a North American-style musical New Year’s Eve dinner show, December 31, at the Los Balcones Hotel (old location of California Kitchen). For more information click here. Dinner begins at 7. Non-dinner guests are also invited – food and drink menu service is available.

Cost: Dinner and show $25.

RSVP by emailing or calling 284-2103.
We are located on Borrero 12-08 and Gaspar Sangurima, on the corner.


What’s Happening Under the Domes is a weekly column by Sara Coppler. Sara has lived in Ecuador for over 5 years. She is an architect by training, who has worked for more than two decades in the field of international development and poverty housing. She is a co-founder of idiomART, a creative community center in Cuenca. Having admired the creative process throughout her life,she describes herself as a “Head Cheerleader for the Arts.” It’sthis enthusiasm that she hopes to bring to this weekly column. You may contact her at and feel free to check out her Under The Domes website at

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