Heather Heaton

Documentary Photographer

Baja Mexico's Carnaval

It's been 30 years since I was in Baja California Sur, Mexico where I lived on my sailboat and cruised the Sea of Cortes. Of all the towns I visited, La Paz was my favorite. It has not changed much, with the exception of some additional housing and hotels on the outskirts of the town.  There are still a handful of sailors, but very few tourists. The town is full of charm and extrememly friendly people.

I am here experiencing the five days of 'Carnaval' just like I did three decades ago. These days it is a much grander event with video screens the size used for outdoor concerts, three stages for musical acts, and of course a fun-fair filled with games, rides, and lots of food, including cotton candy.  The carnaval's biggest attraction is the parade that traveles slowly along the waterfront esplanade called the malecon for three nights. The first night there were over 1500 people watching as musicians played, dancers moved to choreographed steps, and beauty queens, Mayans queens, and transvestites waved from floats. The next night the parade reversed course and headed up the Malecon. You might think the crowd would have dwindled down to nothing as the exact same parade returned for a third and final evening down the malecon, but not so. In fact, this crowd was as strong as ever.

I caught this image of children who stand around trying to catch free-floating cotton candy that the wind whisks away from the spinner's stick.