October is an wonderful month to visit Mexico. Weather-wise it's a great time to visit: it's the end of the rainy season, and temperatures are milder than other times of the year. There are also many interesting cultural happenings you won't want to miss. The Festival Internacional Cervantino is one of the biggest cultural festivals of the year, and Day of the Dead kicks off at the end of the month. Here's a run-down of some of the most important festivals and events that take place in Mexico in October.
One of Mexico's major annual cultural events, the Cervantino Festival, held in the colonial mining town of Guanajuato, draws performers and spectators from around the world and features opera, classical, and contemporary music concerts, dance, and theater performances, visual arts exhibits, and film screenings. Besides official events, the streets are full of buskers and street performers, and the whole city is bustling with activity throughout the almost three weeks the festival lasts.
The city of Guadalajara in Jalisco state celebrates a month-long event every October with concerts, dances, cultural exhibits, and food tastings, attracting visitors and performers from all over the world. An inaugural parade kicks things off at the beginning of the month, and performances by big names such as Jesse & Joy, Elefante, and Paquita La Del Barrio are on the program.
The purpose of this festival is to provide a platform for the talents of seasoned filmmakers and emerging artists alike to premiere their work and introduce it to new audiences. The festival is also devoted to expanding the audience for independent film. It's a great opportunity for industry professionals and enthusiasts to network, learn new skills and enjoy some great films, as well as getting to know the beautiful colonial city of Oaxaca.
It's observed as Columbus Day in the United States, but in Mexico, October 12, or Día de la Raza, is a date that is meant to commemorate the first recorded contact between the indigenous people of the Americas with the Europeans. The occasion is seen as an opportunity to foster awareness about the subsequent cultural shifts that took place which resulted in the mix of indigenous and European identities, customs, traditions, and beliefs, which formed present-day Mexico.
This is Mexico's largest tequila festival and offers Mexican cuisine and a family atmosphere, with over 300 brands of Mexico's best tequilas available at special prices. Collections of tequilas are raffled among attendees every day. The Expo Tequila takes place in Tijuana on 7th Avenue between Calle Revolución and 8th, in front of the Jai Alai Palace over four days in mid-October.
Feria del Alfeñique
Throughout the month of October you can enjoy seeing (and tasting!) the elaborate creations of candy makers in Toluca as they look forward to the holiday of Day of the Dead. These artisans create amazing figures with traditional sugar paste candy known as alfeñique and draw inspiration on themes of the season such as skulls and skeletons as well as pumpkins, animals and items that are customarily placed on the Day of the Dead altar.
Taking place at the end of October and beginning of November in Cancun and the Riviera Maya, this food and wine festival brings together the talents of world-renowned chefs, top sommeliers, the best wine cellars of Europe and the Americas, and food and wine connoisseurs from around the world. Activities include conferences, wine and spirit tastings, cooking classes, and gala dinners.
Generally held the last week of October in Morelia, Michoacan, this film festival's goal is to promote the many and varied talents within the world of Mexican cinema and provide a forum for international exhibition. There are both theater and open-air screenings of films and the public is invited to attend conferences, roundtables, and exhibits where they can meet film industry personalities.
This special celebration honoring the deceased takes place on October 31st, November 1st, and 2nd. Departed loved ones are remembered and honored in cemeteries and family homes in this unique cultural celebration. Festivities take place throughout the country but are most colorful in certain Day of the Dead destinations.
Tlaxcala is Mexico's smallest state, but you would never guess it by the magnitude of its state fair. Known as the "Gran Feria de Tlaxcala," there are amusement rides, concerts, and exhibits. The fairground has a gastronomic section as well as displays of traditional crafts. Festivities kick off with a grand parade on the last Saturday of October.
Thousands of people of all ages gather in the open space around "La Bola" the giant sphere that marks Tijuana's Cultural Center for the annual Entijuanarte festival, a regional and binational showcase of artistic culture and diversity. There are concerts, theater presentations and art exhibits, all with free admission.
Billing itself as the most important food festival in Northwestern Mexico, the Baja Culinary Fest is a perfect opportunity to learn more about the unique food culture of Baja California, which is characterized by abundant seafood as well as a growing farm-to-table movement, artisanal beer and locally produced wine. The festival takes place over four days and features gastronomic shows, tastings, conferences, thematic dinners, product exhibitions, guest chefs, tasting contests and more.