The queen's costume, her maids of honour and the Carnival groups take on a whole new level when you see them in the flesh parading down the streets of Santa Cruz. The magic of getting up-close is what the audience experiences when they attend the great Opening Parade of the Carnival.
The city's main streets are closed off for a few hours to host a true spectacle of colour and joy. The parade encompasses the best of what has already happened and what is yet to come at the Carnival. Taking part are the murgas, comparsas, rondallas and music bands, together with the winners of the individual and group costume awards. And behind them are a whole host of carnival-goers dressed in all kinds of wacky outfits, from those thrown together at the last-minute to the most elaborate, ready to face the many nights of festivities ahead.
The show gathers people of all ages. Traditionally, children are allowed to put on their costumes in the morning and wear them to school. Plus, in the city itself, most of the schools close early so that the kids can make the most of the festive fun. This shows just how much the city transforms during two weeks, enthralling locals, Islanders and visitors from all over the world.