fullsizeoutput_cce-1024x924 Founders' Week in Boquete Town Boquete Panama
Bearing the flag of Chiriqui province

It’s a long way from our home in Boquete, Panama to my hometown of Fort Stockton, Texas, and in many ways the two towns could not be more different. But there’s one thing that the good folks of West Texas and rural Panama have in common: a love of festivals and horses, with a heaping helping of community pride.

When I was growing up, the Water Carnival in July was (and still is) the marquee event of the year, with its water ballet, huge parade with homecoming floats for various high school classes, and of course, the Miss Fort Stockton pageant. I swam in many a water ballet act, and in the high school band I marched in my share of Water Carnival and other parades. We always hoped we wouldn’t be right behind the horses (thanks, Mom, for that memory!). Here’s a nice little article about mi pueblita, with a bit more about Water Carnival.

IMG_9736-1024x683 Founders' Week in Boquete Town Boquete Panama
Rosie and Tango in their “Festival de Mascotas” finery

Boquete’s version of Water Carnival weekend is going on now, marking 107 years since the town was founded, and we spent yesterday taking in the festivities. In some ways I felt like I was right back in Fort Stockton again (well, an alternate Panamanian-universe Fort Stockton). There were parades! Pet activities! Dancing! Horses galore! Beauty queens!

Fun was had by all, including our four-legged “kids,” Rosie and Tango, as we started the day with the Festival de Mascotas (Pet Festival). It was a kick to see so many

fullsizeoutput_cfb-203x300 Founders' Week in Boquete Town Boquete Panama
Miss Panama, with the mayor and his wife (photo courtesy Alcaldia Boquete)

Panamanians (and just a few expats) coming out to show off their beloved pups, dressed in their best outfits. There was a little parade through the streets of Boquete and then a dog obedience contest, including an adorable puppy trial that involved the owners calling for their pups from about 20 feet away (some of the most adorable ones got a little distracted!). Sadly, no costume contest; otherwise, I’m sure Rosie would have won for “best feather boa!”

The highlight of the afternoon was the big Boquete Cabalgata (parade of horses), an extravaganza that drew hundreds of equestrians from throughout Chiriqui province. At the same time, performances by folkloric dancers were taking place over on the main plaza throughout the afternoon and into the evening.

If we’d hung around into the evening, we would have enjoyed a lot more dancing, music, and gaiety, including a visit from Miss Panama. I can almost guarantee that the disco-ing and LOUD music went on well into the wee hours, because Panamanians do know how to party!

This video by John Hampton captures the spirit of Cabalgata beautifully:

Here are a few more photos from our day of Boquete fun:

fullsizeoutput_d03-1024x674 Founders' Week in Boquete Town Boquete Panama
Pooches on parade!
fullsizeoutput_d04-300x242 Founders' Week in Boquete Town Boquete Panama
Rosie always makes new friends!
fullsizeoutput_d06-300x234 Founders' Week in Boquete Town Boquete Panama
Obedience competition. This dog had an impressive array of tricks.
fullsizeoutput_d07-200x300 Founders' Week in Boquete Town Boquete Panama
Tango’s turn to make a friend!
fullsizeoutput_cf0-1-1024x758 Founders' Week in Boquete Town Boquete Panama
Boquete’s mayor, Emigdio Walker Vasquez (in blue shirt) leads the cabalgata
fullsizeoutput_cbd-1-1024x638 Founders' Week in Boquete Town Boquete Panama
Onlookers wait for the next group of horses
fullsizeoutput_cde-1024x690 Founders' Week in Boquete Town Boquete Panama
Young señoritas wait their turn to dance
fullsizeoutput_ce2-1-1024x795 Founders' Week in Boquete Town Boquete Panama
. . . together with the young señors
fullsizeoutput_cc9-1-1024x859 Founders' Week in Boquete Town Boquete Panama
More onlookers . . .
fullsizeoutput_cd5-1-1024x723 Founders' Week in Boquete Town Boquete Panama
. . . and still more
fullsizeoutput_d02-782x1024 Founders' Week in Boquete Town Boquete Panama
A be-masked “old crone” dancer and her little buddy
IMG_9802-1024x683 Founders' Week in Boquete Town Boquete Panama
Our friend Jessica from the Boquete Equestrian Center, riding her beautiful percheron, Paris
fullsizeoutput_ce9-1-1024x785 Founders' Week in Boquete Town Boquete Panama
Three beauties
fullsizeoutput_cf5-1024x741 Founders' Week in Boquete Town Boquete Panama
More folkloric dancing
fullsizeoutput_cc6-1024x855 Founders' Week in Boquete Town Boquete Panama
Pleased ta meetcha!
IMG_9809-1-1024x683 Founders' Week in Boquete Town Boquete Panama
Seriously, how BEAUTIFUL are these kids?
fullsizeoutput_cf3-685x1024 Founders' Week in Boquete Town Boquete Panama
Awww – those cheeks! I could just pinch ’em

8 Comments

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Aw, thanks! It was a really fun day.

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Thanks, Chaz! Hugs to you and Theresa.

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Thanks for your comment, Karen! Hope things are well with you and Sean.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: