If you are a planner, now is the time to start thinking about the big horse race in Ibarra, the Cacería del Zorro, and the morning parade. Both will take place on Saturday, October 8, 2016.
It is an all day event, beginning with the Cacería del Zorro parade in downtown Ibarra, moving on to the race grounds at the famous lake, Yahuarcocha, and ending all about town with celebration parties lasting long into the night.
Those of you fortunate enough to be living in Ecuador should start asking friends about their Ibarra connections. It seems like everyone knows someone from the White City and having a local guide can make all the difference. It is possible, however, to make the trek without a person to lay the groundwork… especially with the information that follows.
The parade will take place in the central part of downtown Ibarra. The viewing stand will likely be at the Parque Pedro Moncayo and the parade will follow Simon Bolivar. We were told to find our spot around 9am but the parade starts a couple of hours later, closer to 11am. Remember, this is Ecuador and exact start times are not a cultural norm so bring your patience with you.
The closer you want to be to the viewing stand, the earlier you need to arrive. And most of the prime spots will be taken by 9am. Once the parade starts, the crowds line both sides of the street, making shady, comfortable spots harder to find. If you are traveling with a group, we recommend taking turns guarding your chosen spot and then sticking to it like glue once the parade start time approaches.
If you find yourself arriving early but want to start photographing parade participants, you could follow the parade route to its source by following the barriers placed along the sidewalks.Just walk south on Simon Bolivar until you find the different horse clubs preparing for the parade.
Once the parade starts, be ready for action! Many people will be dressed in traditional clothing, some reflecting the Spanish Colonial heritage of Ecuador with women dressed in long skirts and a few even riding side-saddle, others will be decked out in more modern gear like polo shirts with local club logos. The crowd pleasers are the Zorros, winners from last year’s races, dressed all in black with masks covering their eyes and fox tails sticking out from their saddles.
The parade will last a couple of hours, giving you plenty of chances to snap great photos. Vendors will be selling drinks and snacks as well as hats and umbrellas for sun protection.
Be warned, the drinking starts early and the hottest sales item is beer. Riders and parade watchers alike are imbibing, many drinking from containers that look like water or Gatorade but hold stronger stuff. Overall, there is a friendly crowd with lots of kids but it is better to be forewarned and be aware of the drinkers around you.
On a final note, we highly recommend arriving by taxi. We drove and parked very easily in a small lot off the street. But after the parade finished, it was impossible to leave as the street became a parking lot in its own right. Locals told us that it would be hours before the cars would clear. Luckily local friends had planned a little better than ourselves and were able to drive us to the race grounds.
More on the race itself in Cacería del Zorro, part II.
- Bring a hat or an umbrella to protect your head and face from the equatorial sun – many traditional hats can be found for sale along the parade route
- Bring water. Although there will be vendors selling drinks, beer was more easily found than water.
- Bring two lenses for your camera… we highly recommend a wide-angle to capture crowd shots and a zoom lens to capture faces. There are many people in this parade who will turn and give a photographer the biggest smiles. It is a happy parade with tons to capture!
To see and share more photos of the parade, please visit Not Your Average American on Facebook.