Our new Canadian neighbors, Clarence and Gail, were already peering out the gate as I raced up the stairs to the broad terrace of the apartment above ours to get an elevated view of the festivities. Dan, our other new neighbor, strolled out to join me in his bathrobe. At this point the drum and brass noise of the marching band was deafening and we could see rank after rank of children formed up in the uniforms of the schools they attend. School children appear to make up a large proportion of marchers in Ajijic fiesta parades.
Grabbing my camera, I headed to the street for a close up view. I quickly realized that each group of identically dressed children was not only going to march, but most would carry on some sort of performance along the way. A photographic gold mine!
Paddling for La Revolucion. The first group carried semaphore paddles, making it appear for a moment that they were propelling invisible kayaks. Given their youth, their synchronization was surprisingly good.
Hoola Hoop review. Other groups carried jangling crescent-shaped tambourines, or multicolored flags, or hula hoops which they twirled on their arms or over their heads.
Charros on parade. Charros are Mexico's gentlemen horsemen. On their beautiful horses, they were dressed to the nines in tight-fitting pants and short jackets, stitched in striking patterns. These two looked like they could have ridden with Zapata.
Proud Papa. This proud charro father brought his lovely daughter, who seemed as much at home on a horse as him, even in her full skirts.
Eat your heart out, Mister Ed. Charro horses are noted for their skillful dancing in tune with the mariachi bands, something that must be seen to be fully believed.
Viva los ninos de la Revolucion! But the stars of the show were the tots from the jardine de los ninos (kindergarten). Everyone I talked to, Mexican or Gringo, remarked upon their wonderful period costumes, and the carefully choreographed dances they performed every time the parade halted. Heavy with their responsibility for carrying the essence of the day, they wore grave expressions, and their tiny voices periodically piped out Viva la Revolucion! The boys waved their carved wooden weapons in the air, crossed bandoliers sparkling on their chests, while the girls flourished their full skirts.
Painted Pancho Villa mustaches gave the boys fierce expressions. The girls were a little more demure and flashed shy smiles a the cameras of hovering parents and entranced onlookers.