The history of Puerto Vallarta Carnaval / Mardi Gras celebrations is short but it is getting longer…

The 2009 to 2011 Puerto Vallarta Carnaval Parades

Peter Deep, the owner of the now closed Club Manana, the largest gay nightclub in Vallarta at the time, founded the Puerto Vallarta Mardi Gras Parade and ran it with largely his own financing and effort for this period. The parade was primarily a gay production and was extremely well-received by the community. It was flashy and trashy. It was colorful and exciting. It was also limited to the southside of Vallarta. Peter retired from managing the parade in 2012.

The 2012 Puerto Vallarta Carnaval Parade

For one spring evening Puerto Vallarta came alive like at no other time of the year for the largest and most exciting parade in this tropical seaside town.

The 4th annual Puerto Vallarta Mardi Gras parade wound its way through Puerto Vallarta’s beautiful and colorful Malecon and Zona Romantica. There were more than 60 entries with 10s of thousands of people watching.

2012 was the fourth year of the Puerto Vallarta Mardi Gras Carnaval Parade. Originally it was created by Peter Deep of Club Manana and was sponsored by him for the first three years.

In 2012 it was organized by a small, independent committee of volunteers and was sponsored by the City of Puerto Vallarta and the Mayor, Salvador González Reséndiz. Because we had the backing of the City Government, we were able to take the parade beyond its previous focus of being primarily a “gay” parade. For the first 3 years of its existance, the parade had less than a handful of “straight” businesses supporting it. With City sponsorship we were able to enlarge this number considerably, even including a mariachi band, dancing horses, the bomberos (firefighters) and many “straight” bars, restaurants and real estate companies that had previously refused participation. Our goal was to make this Mardi Gras parade similar to those in other major cities around the world, with a role for everyone. The walls did not come down but the doors opened a bit.

The 2012 Parade was held Saturday, February 18, from 9 pm until well after midnight, beginning at the top of the new Malecon and continuing down through the Zona Romantica past the popular Olas Altas street. Everyone, all businesses, individuals and organizations were invited to participate.

The 2013 Puerto Vallarta Carnaval “Pier Party”

Unfortunately, there was no Carnaval Parade in 2013. Puerto had a new city government and a person in that government decided that he could do it better so the Carnaval Committee was “fired.”

Fortunately everyone in the new city government did not share the same ambitions and after the failure of producing a parade was obvious, the Director of Tourism approached the committee with an offer to produce a city sponsored Pier Party on the new Los Muertos Pier. This was a poor substitute for a parade but we did it. Along with producing the pier party, the committee was given assurance that we would be able to produce the Carnaval Parade in 2014. Life is complicated.

The 2014 Puerto Vallarta Carnaval Parade

The 2014 Vallarta Carnaval Parade occurred on Mardi Gras night. It ran from north by the Sheraton Hotel to the south end of Olas Altas. There were about 30 participating “floats.”

The city of Vallarta has decided that this parade in the past was too far over the limits for social and religious reasons and that it needed to be reigned in considerably. as a result, it looked very much like a small town, local holiday parade. In this case it was led by a kid’s choir. There were none of the extreme club floats from previous years, mainly cars with balloons and banners and people in Halloween costumes. The audience loved the show, since they had been primed for almost a year with promises of a parade, once again. All statistics about this parade are exaggerated and generated solely to bolster the egos of the people who ran it.

This website and the people who worked on it are now no longer affiliated with the Vallarta Mardi Gras Parade. It has been taken over by commercial, governmental and social interests with limitations much more narrow than those of our original intent.

Think of this website and its associated facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/PuertoVallartaMardiGras, only as historical references.