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Los Locos Are Coming!

By Jesús Aguado

Los Locos are people who each year in June get dressed as superheroes, monsters, fairies, politicians, and even Barbie dolls in order to parade through town before onlookers who gather on the streets to shout for “candies, candies!”

There is something magic behind this tradition—which takes place this year on Sunday, Jun 17. More than 15,000 “creatures” fill the streets and dance for hours like some sort of river of colors. In part, this is made possible by the creations of artisans like Juan Espinosa of colonia Azteca, who makes many of the papier-mâché masks that can be seen at this annual event.

But that was not always the case. The Espinosa Family’s story is one that reminds us of the fragile interconnectedness of global commerce: Up until 2001, this family of papier-mâché artisans exported to the US thousands of their pieces, mainly dolls, to a single client. On September 11, 2001, the World Trade Center in New York City was destroyed, and the family’s client disappeared.

Since then, their work making dolls has faded, and they have shifted focus to making masks. Juan Espinosa has now also entered the business of making mojigangas (giant puppets). He said his are different than the ones made by other well-respected mojiganga artisans such as Polo Estrada and Hermes Arroyo.

Espinosa’s workshop is bursting with works in various states of progress—everything from plaster molds to paper cut into shapes to finished masks awaiting their new owners. This year, he has created masks with designs based on the popular movie Coco as well as based on characters from the old animated American shows Tiny Toon Adventures and Looney Tunes.

The locos parade will leave at 11am from salida a Celaya and will proceed to the Jardín via the following streets: Ancha de San Antonio, Zacateros, Canal, Hernández Macías, Insurgentes, Pepe Llanos, Mesones, Núñez, San Francisco, and Plaza Principal.

Don’t forget your parasol and sunscreen.


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