If you were heading anywhere yesterday on Avenida Figueroa Alcorta in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Recoleta, you no doubt came across the heavy throngs of people in their thousands pumped up on Christmas spirit. They were in fact heading to the first Buenos Aires Christmas parade organised exclusively by the City government, making its way down from Pueyrredón to Ayacucho.
And it certainly was a spectacle to behold; if only to witness at one point a sea of toddlers bounding ahead, still atop their eager parents’ shoulders running forward to get their children a better look at the parade.
The parade featured a series of various floats, ranging from the not-so-stereotypical, to the irreplaceable staples. The floats included: giant flowers surrounded by fairies, a huge rainbow peace sign, elves and stars on roller blades and, of course, Santa on his sleigh.
Although the relevance of some of the floats to Christmas was not entirely clear at times, they nonetheless had young children pressing up against the railings to get a good look; waving excitedly at the performers.
In total, over 300 artists accompanied the floats, including dancers, skaters, acrobats and singers. Besides the parade itself however, everywhere you looked there was something going on. Hundreds of stands were dotted around the place selling a plethora of nicknacks and a few bands played as the sun went down; in some cases chilled-out reggaeton, creating a cultural mashup of an atmosphere.
All in all, the spectacle truly was an impressive mix with elements of a typical New-York-style winter Christmas parade – together with an injection of Argentinian influences in true Buenos Aires roller-skating style. The heat certainly created a contrasting atmosphere; you could only sympathise with the performers decked out in giant shiny costumes – maybe a sunbathing Santa might be better suited for next year?