Best Annual Event by Popular Vote

Many of our area’s annual events are organized and conducted for a good cause, benefitting one or more deserving charities or groups;  others surround religious observations, and some are just for fun. In order to spotlight  some of the outstanding events in our area, we invite ANY site visitor  — registered or not —  to vote in our Best Annual Event poll.  We have included some basic information about each event. And watch for more Popular Vote surveys coming up. Scroll down to cast your vote or view results.


ANY SITE VISITOR CAN VOTE; NO NEED TO BE REGISTERED. So…please cast your vote (one per household IP address) for the annual event you support and enjoy most? (Official web sites, if available, are shown.)

    Carnaval Chapala – Celebrated every February is the Carnaval Chapala, organized and funded by the Municipio of Chapala. The event is kicked off by a  parade with Mardi Gra-style costumes, dancing, music, decorated floats, horses, etc.  The Carnaval lasts over a week and is held at Cristiania Park, just north of the Chapala Malecon. It features a variety of shows, food and retail stands, concerts, rides and activities for all ages. For more information, go to:

Chili Cookoff – Started in 1978 the Mexican Chili Cook Off in Ajijic  is one of Lakeside’s largest events. Held at Tobalandia, it brings together a number of chili cooks, salsa gurus and margarita makers for three days of competition, along with vendors, food and continuous entertainment. Proceeds are shared by seven Lakeside charitable organizations, benefitting children, families, the elderly and the disabled. In 2016, sponsored charities received $32,000 pesos each from proceeds of the Chili Cook-Off. For more information, go to:

    Christmas Posadas – Posadas play a big role in Mexican Christmas  celebrations during the nine nights leading up to Christmas. The word posada means “inn” or “shelter” in Spanish, and in this tradition Mary and Joseph’s search for a place to stay in Bethlehem is re-enacted.  The celebration begins with a procession in which the participants hold candles and sing Christmas carols.

    Day of the Dead – This is one of the biggest  celebrations at Lake Chapala and throughout Mexico. It consists of  several days of fireworks, parties, food, parades, costumes and decorations. For two nights Mexican families get together to honor and communicate with their deceased loved ones.  For more information, go to:

    Easter  Season Activities – Mexico is renowned for local interpretations of the Easter events in the form of Passion Plays which portray the last days of Christ as reported in the Bible. Although every community boasts unique traditions for celebrating Easter, the best known of these meaningful reactions at Lakeside takes place each year in Ajijic. The celebrations last through Semana Santa (Holy Week – Palm Sunday to Easter Saturday) and Pascua (Resurrection Sunday until the following Saturday).

Fiestas Patronales – All lakeshore towns, and even some neighborhoods, pay tribute to their respective spiritual patrons during prolonged celebrations called Fiestas Patronales that commonly involve religious processions, street  fairs, music and dancing, feasting, bull-riding contests, fireworks, and include numerous stands selling a wide variety of goods, food and drink. The Fiestas Patronales typically take place in the town plazas and officially last 10 days.

    Feria Maestros del ArteThis non-profit, three-day event at the Chapala Yacht Club was created in 2002 by expat Mariane Carlson as a means of supporting and introducing outstanding Mexican artisans and their handcrafted folk art. Over 80 artisans are invited to participate at no cost, even transportation and lodging is provided by donors, sponsora and volunteer hosts.  For some of these master artisans, this event is their first contact with the outside world. In addition to presenting their traditional ancestral crafts, the Feria incorporates musical events, dance performances, food concessions, and talks by folk art experts. For more information, go to:

Northern Lights Music Festival – Sponsored by Scotiabank, the Northern Lights Music Festival, held each February in Ajijic, is a  major international music festival featuring visiting performers  world-class musicians have been packing their violins, flutes, and cellos, and trekking south to Ajijic, Mexico from all over Canada, the US and Europe to perform in the Scotiabank Northern Lights Music Festival.They stay with generous hosts, have most rehearsals in private homes, and enjoy the camaraderie of shared meals.  bring musical enrichment to Lakeside audiences and Mexican students.

Patron Saints (town) Fiesta

    Red Cross Fashion Show – Conducted by the Cruz Roja (Red Cross) Volunteer Organization, this annual  fundraiser features Lake Chapala residents (mostly women) modeling clothing and accessories provided by local merchants such as Cugini’s Boutique, Alma Gutierrez Designs, Fiaga Boutique  and Mi Mexico. The event is well attended and is one of several events organized to raisesneeded funds to support the Red Cross  and their many services. For more information, go to:

Regata de Globos – These hot air balloon races mark the beginning of  the Ajijic fiestas patronales.   The balloons, or globos, are made out of layers of tissue paper glued onto wire frames; they rise via heat provided by a flame beneath the globo. Many catch on fire and never get off the ground. The  balloon that goes higher, further away and stays up the longest wins. For more information, go to:

    ¡Viva la Musica! –  Formed in the Spring of 2000, ¡Viva La Musica! draws upon the wealth of musical talent available in Mexico by bringing  fine musicians to perform at Lakeside. In addition, the organization sponsors bus trips to musical events in Guadalajara and elsewhere, and  assists talented young Mexican music students in furthering their musical education. For more information, go to:


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