A Drag Queen apotheosis at the end of “Carnivals of the World”

The grand Gala of the platforms brings together a multitude of people on the last Friday of the festivities, for the Carnival diary’s most transgressive event

The Grand Parade takes over the city on a Saturday where the night’s star will be Manuel Turizo

The traditional burning of the Sardine is the moment of farewell to Carnival, on a Sunday where the widows take the lead; it is also the day when the theme for the 2025 celebrations will be announced

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Monday 12 February, 2024. If there is a hallmark which defines modern Carnival in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, that will be platforms. The 21st Century Carnival in the Gran Canaria capital is marked definitively by the appearance of the Drag Queens. With over two decades of galas behind them, they have emerged as a really singular feature, decisive in ensuring that the city’s carnival celebrations achieved the status of Fiesta of International Tourist Interest.

In this edition of the Carnivals of the World, which for 2024 has taken the programme of events back to the La Isleta neighbourhood (the quarter which brought the fiesta back after Franco’s dictatorship), the grand Drag Queen Gala occupies a special date: Friday 16 February, on the main stage located in Belén María Square. Starting at 21:30, thirteen aspiring contestants will compete in this packed setting for the Drag sceptre, with the show being broadcast both nationally and internationally. It’s a great day for the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Carnival!

After the Gala, the concerts and musical shows will continue on this same stage, and on the other two stages located nearby: eclectic events for a range of audiences, on one of the most important Carnival Nights, with the crowds in their costumes enjoying these celebrations to the full and with total intensity. This is the Carnival you find out on the streets of the Gran Canaria capital.

A display, the popular one, which will carry on marking the final weekend of the programme. And thus, on Saturday 17 February, from 16:00 onwards, the Grand Parade will leave from the La Isleta neighbourhood itself to wind through the centre of the city until it reaches San Telmo Park, on the threshold of the city’s historic centre. Over a hundred floats carrying people in costume, Murga groups, Comparsa groups and, of course, the Queens and Drag Queens, make up a superb parade which the Gran Canaria capital experiences each year, like an apotheosic festive celebration, where the outstanding features are costumes, shamelessness and transgression.

The last Saturday on the programme doesn’t end there, by any stretch of the imagination. Concerts are the main draw again on the last Carnival Night on the three stages in La Isleta, with a special appearance on the billboards, that of the international performer Manuel Turizo (23:00), a great attraction for the audience on this night of vast becostumed crowds.

To bid our farewell to the Carnivals of the World there is still one more day of widows in the sun, in the Daytime Carnival summoned to the same zone of the city (from 12 noon), until the Burial of the Sardine leaves for the Las Canteras Beach, at 19:30, for the traditional burning of the fish to mark the death of each Carnival. This is a day dominated by hysterical and shameless professional mourners and their grief, in an amusing mourning ritual which lends its tears to the farewell to the fiestas.

That said, this Carnival won’t end without leaving us the theme which will run through its successor in 2025. Starting at 21:00, the organisers will announce the allegory that has been chosen by popular vote, which will mean that the general public can get ahead in deciding what costumes will be best suited for next year and, in particular, give the Murga and Comparsa Groups and the contenders for the crowns enough time to get to work on the costumes they will wear on stage 12 months hence.