The International Cervantes Festival is considered to be the most important annual artistic and cultural event in Mexico and Latin-America. It began in the 1950′s with students from the University of Guanajuato performing farces based on the early 17th century novel Don Quixote de la Mancha,” written by Miguel de Cervantes. Held in Guanajuato, Mexico, the festival became an annual event in 1972 and today draws many thousands of spectators who come to enjoy performances by more than 2,300 artists from 25 nations and five continents. The program is so extensive that 70 different venues are required for its 450 functions, which feature both popular and classical productions of opera, music, dance, theater, visual arts, film and academic activities during the 19 days of the festival.
Crowds at the International Cervantino Festival, held each fall in Guanajuato, Mexico
The festival has became so popular that it spawned an entire museum dedicated to the culture of Cervantes, the Iconographic Museum of Quixote. The two story facility features paintings and sculptures by artists, including Picasso, that celebrate the imagery of Cervantes.
Iconographic Museum of Quixote, which features of Don Quixote inspired works of art
Many of the festival events are free and in order to secure seats attendees arrive at least two hours in advance. Other events require tickets that cost between 15 and 350 pesos each ($1 to $27 USD), most of which sell out months in advance. Visitors planning to attend the festival are well advised to contact Ticketmaster in Mexico to secure advance tickets, which are released for sale in July of each year, and to make hotel reservations well in advance of the event.
Photo Credits: Top: Paul and Jill; Bottom: Barbara Weibel
Article by Barbara Weibel of Hole In The Donut Travels