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The Cali Fair is the biggest Salsa festival on the planet. Over 2 million locals and countless more tourists put on their dancing shoes, loosen up their hips and explode into a week-long salsa marathon.
During the Cali Fair there are hundreds of concerts, parades, parties, beauty pageants, gastronomy expo´s, cultural exhibitions, sideshows and other activities taking place around the clock all over the city. Many of the biggest events sell out so it is a good idea to buy tickets well in advance.
Day 1 (25th December): The Salsadrome
The giant fair kicks off after Christmas Day lunch with a salsa dancing street parade known as El Salsodromo. Thousands of costumed dancers take part showing off the best salsa moves in the world.
Day 2: The Horse Parade
The busiest event of the fair, close to 2 million people gather to watch 5000 local cowboys parade some of the finest horses in South America. The event has a controversial history due to the excessive alcohol consumed by the cowboys whilst participating in the parade.
Day 3: Festival of Orchestras
A mammoth concert shakes the ground with a line-up containing many of the best Latin American music ensembles worldwide. It´s not all Salsa, with reggateon stars often hitting the stage to provoke some sexy dancing amongst the crowd. The Festival of Orchestras is traditionally free of charge.
Day 4: The Old Cali Parade
On the 28th a creative and culturally important street parade takes place. The idea of the parade is to represent the urban stories of archetypical Cali characters as well as personalities who have made a big impression on the city. Decorative floats carry stunning beauty queens, stilt walkers joke amongst the crowd, people carry gigantic wreaths of flowers on their back and there are 1000 more characters that will catch your eye.
Day 5: Pacific Day, Antique Car Parade
The Antique Car Parade exhibits a surprisingly large array of immaculate luxury and antique automobiles. Many of the drivers dress in costume and the day provides a fun event for the whole family.
Pacific Day celebrates the beating AfroColombian culture that thrives around the Cauca Valley and Pacific Coast. From 6.30 in the morning thousands of people gather for a vibrant day of sing and dance, traditional food, story-telling, live music and big white smiles. The party may start early but it goes alllllll night.
Day 6 (30th December): Closing Concert
A huge concert is held featuring dozens of Colombian and international acts. Afterwards the party continues all over the city in hundreds of bars and nightclubs. One of the hottest venues to party is called ´La Caseta del Piso 41´, or ´Shack floor 41´.