By Alejandro Prieto.
Montevideo, Feb 10 (EFE).- The traditional Las Llamadas parade, the highlight of the annual Uruguayan Carnival, returned on Thursday to the streets of the country’s capital with color and movement after a year off due to Covid-19.
Between laughter, chats and beer, anticipation built as some girls had fun throwing party foam at everyone who passed, and the echo of the drums approached the Isla de Flores street in the heart of the Barrio Sur neighborhood of Montevideo where the stage was set for the first night of the big party.
This year, the expectation was not only felt down at the stands where the Montevideo City Hall had thousands of seats ready, but also on the rooftops, where people rent spots to watch the parade.
Andrés González told EFE that since moving to his house on Isla de Flores seven years ago, he has hosted spectators on five occasions.
The high demand for his space has led him to dub it “Flower Island.”
“I have a large enough place to be able to (host people). I always offer them, apart from the space, a food service. I put out a bar with different alcoholic and soft drinks,” he said.
This year, the parade is being held under Covid-19 protocols, which include a 70 percent capacity without a vaccination requirement.
González, who rents his place for between 2,000 and 4,500 Uruguayan pesos ($46-$100), said he will leave it to his clients to decide whether to wear a mask.
He also highlighted the varied menu he has to offer, which includes something for vegetarians, vegans and even celiacs, prepared in the traditional Uruguayan minced format.
Despite the two-year Covid-induced absence of the world’s longest carnival, which is held between January and March, the preparations did not stop, said Martín Rorra, a member of “Uganda”, one of the 50 Comparsas that will participate in the contests during the parade.
“There was no parade in 2021 so that (gap) was extended and we had a lot of time to prepare, so (there is) also the joy and nervousness of starting the parade because we come from a year without activity,” he said.
Rocco added that in addition to the excitement of returning to the parade, there was also a feeling among the participants of wanting to celebrate on behalf of those who had lost their lives during the pandemic.
“We have lost many (…) lives, many colleagues who have left because of the pandemic, and that undoubtedly affects us. But today we can be here enjoying tonight,” he said. EFE